THE departure of Stephan Schrock and Dennis Cagara may be a huge blow, but Philippine men’s football team coach Thomas Dooley sees plenty of replacements who can fill their absence.
Schrock and Cagara announced on Monday they won’t play for the Azkals as long as Dooley is in charge.
While Cagara’s spot at left-back is relatively secure with Filipino-Japanese teenager Daisuke Sato taking over, the void left by Schrock, arguably the Azkals’ finest individual talent, at left wing is indeed, tough to fill.
But Dooley has listed a handful of other overseas-based booters who he said are capable of taking Schrock’s place beginning with Iain Ramsay, a longtime Azkals prospect who has expressed an interest in donning the country’s colors.
“Iain will make a decision in the next couple months,” Dooley told Spin.ph on Friday, referring to Ramsay, a 26-year-old, 5-foot-11 Filipino-Australian left-winger who plays in the A-League.
Another is Mike Ott, the 19-year-old Filipino-German attacking midfielder who has already been called up in the past, but has yet been tapped. He is the younger brother of another Azkals pool member in Manny Ott.
Dooley wants to see Javier Patiño, the Filipino-Spanish striker whose Thai club Buriram United has always refused to release him for national duty, return to action.
The German-American mentor is likewise confident local-based standouts in Jeffrey Christiaens and James Younghusband can step up.
Christiaens, fully recovered from a foot injury, has been deployed as a left-back, but is a natural left-winger while Younghusband usually plays right wing.
“We have a lot of options,” said Dooley, who fired back at Schrock on Thursday, calling him selfish and his actions unprofessional, even going as far as expressing that the midfield dynamo is not a big loss.
“Schrock is a good player, but limited tactically.”