As a return to Canberra looms for ACT-born Tom Rogic in Australia’s next home World Cup qualifier in November, Socceroo coach Ange Postecoglou says the playmaker can only get better after another goal for Celtic overnight.
he Socceroos will face Kyrgyzstan in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier at Canberra’s GIO Stadium on Thursday 12 November, following an agreement between Football Federation Australia (FFA) and the ACT Government.
It means if Rogic is selected, the 22-year-old is set for a return to his hometown in what should be a special occasion for the rising star of the Socceroos.
“He’s in a good space. He scored and set one up last night, I watched the game, he’s feeling really happy about his progress now,” Postecoglou told reporters in Canberra on Monday as the ticket on-sale was launched.
“His body’s good, which is probably the only thing that has held him back. There’s no doubt he’s a great talent but I think he just feels better about himself.”
Rogic was on target as Celtic hammered Dundee 6-0 overnight. He scored the opener and set up the second to continue his upsurge in form for the Scottish powerhouse.
Rogic scored with a volley in the 14th minute before setting up Leigh Griffiths two minutes later for the Hoops' second goal in the rout at Parkhead.
The former Victory and Mariners player also caught the eye in the last two national team games, giving Postecoglou another option in the attacking midfield area after impressing against Bangladesh and Tajikistan.
“It was great having him in camp the last two games. He played against Bangladesh and came on in the second game and did well for us but more importantly he looked like his old self again.
"Hopefully it continues because he can become an important player for us,” added Postecoglou.
"I’d have to think his best is still well ahead of him. He’s still a young man. When you look at the injuries he’s had, in terms of his career, he’s still got a long way to go.
“For me just seeing him back on the park with a smile on his face, being able to play the football he wants to play but in terms of where his best is at I don’t think anyone knows. But he certainly got off to a good start in the last few weeks.”
Australia defeated Kyrgyzstan 2-1 in their opening 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier in Bishkek last June. It was by no means an easy win.
And a home game is always welcome after the recent away game in Tajikistan as well as Jordan coming up on October 8.
"We’ve been on the road a little bit this early part of the campaign but being in Perth for the last home game felt really good to play in a packed stadium.
“Canberra is somewhere we haven’t been for a while and we’re really looking forward to getting back here.
“When it’s a packed stadium it will be a great atmosphere. These games are really crucial for us, Kyrgyzstan have already proved to be a tough opponent, they are still a chance in the group so looking forward to the game,” said Postecoglou.
FFA CEO David Gallop added ACT fans should vote with their feet if they want more Socceroo games in the nation’s capital.
“When the Socceroos are at home it’s a rare thing, they come from all corners of the globe," said Gallop.
"There’s a nice mix of guys in the A-League but also guys that play all over the world.
“Some of them are doing some great things on the world stage.
“Tom Rogic, a Canberra boy, got a goal [overnight]. I expect close to a sellout here on the 12 of November.”