ESPN football pundit Gabriel Tan believed that it’s time for Vietnam’s Nguyen Quang Hai and Nguyen Hoang Duc to ply their trade elsewhere.
The expert said the pair need to “Spread their wings for the greater good”, comparing their situations to “Big fish in a small pond.”
Despite being knocked out of the AFF Cup semi-finals, the two players both excelled in the tournament, more so Viettel FC’s Hoang Duc who’s expected to follow Hanoi FC star’s footstep to become one of the best Vietnamese players in the future.
In his article, Tan mentioned said the two are the best Vietnamese players at the moment and have the potential to be even better.
But to do this, he claimed they need to need to step out of their comfort zone.
“These stars are also not testing themselves further and run the risk of being too comfortable as big fish in a small pond,” Tan wrote on ESPN Sport Site.
“The talent at their disposal is undeniable but the relinquishing of their crown only further highlights a problem that has been plaguing Vietnamese football -- the need for their brightest prospects to take the next step in their careers.
“The issue may not exactly lie with their ambition (or lack thereof), given there is an unspoken consensus among the country's footballing fraternity that the players are being tied down by their clubs, who view them as valuable commodities both on and off the field.
“Yet it is time that these teams see the bigger picture and allow Quang Hai and Hoang Duc to spread their wings for the greater good,” he added.
Tan also mentions Thailand’s star Chanathip Songkrasin and suggests that Vietnam can learn from their rival to make the best of their talented players.
“The impact that could have was apparent against Thailand, who boasted several players who have ventured abroad in recent times, including captain and playmaker Chanathip Songkrasin,” said Tan.
“While Quang Hai struggled to have a major influence on proceedings, Chanathip - who has spent the last four-and-a-half years in Japan's J1 League with Consadole Sapporo -- rose to the occasion with a tie-winning two-goal display, looking an even more influential figure than he did when he was named the Suzuki Cup's Most Valuable Player in 2014 and 2016 owing to the lessons he has learnt playing regularly at a higher level.”