Socceroo superstar Tim Cahill says he admires what Canberra boy Tom Rogic is achieving in his burgeoning career but urges fans and the media to 'give him space'.
After an injury-riddled couple of years, the 22-year-old Celtic playmaker has got his body right and is delivering big-time now for both club and country.
He’ll arrive in the Socceroos' camp on Tuesday off the back of another starring performance for Celtic, including a cracking goal in their 4-1 win in the SPL over the weekend.
No doubt the Canberra fans will be in raptures when they see Rogic in a green and gold shirt this Thursday night when Australia meet Kyrgyzstan in a World Cup qualifier in the nation's capital.
“This is a great story because Tommy is a player I’ve known for a long time and someone I admire a lot,” Cahill said of Rogic on Monday.
“I just feel now he needs his time to play. Everyone knows he can shine but for him he just needs space.
“Naturally Tommy will thrive and he’ll be one of our top players because of his ability and he’s playing for one of the biggest clubs in Celtic.
"He’s getting his rewards now for the hard work he’s putting in.”
Rogic could start in Thursday night’s clash with Kyrgyzstan, a match that comes just a few days before the 10th anniversary of the Socceroos’ famous penalty-shootout win over Uruguay to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.
It still rates as one of the greatest moments for the national team and Cahill admits he looks back on that night with fond memories.
Asked if it was time for this current team to put their own stamp on Australian football, Cahill said: “I think we already have.
“We won the Asian Cup in January and we have a very young team. We’re on a great World Cup campaign now as well.
“We’ve lost one game in a handful of games that we’ve played so it’s not panic stations. We’re just looking forward.”