'I thought it was a joke': Taggart's Socceroos debut surprise
Striker Adam Taggart made his international debut for the Socceroos in late 2012, but initially he thought his call-up was a prank and didn't believe it was actually happening.
A teenage Taggart received a call from then team manager, Gary Moretti, to inform him that he'd been selected as part of the Socceroos camp to take part in the preliminary rounds of the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup.
However, Taggart was certain he was being pranked and did not believe it was real. That was until he received a confirmation email minutes later.
“I thought it was a joke," Taggart told the FFA Podcast.
"I thought it was one of the boys playing a prank on me, so I didn’t believe him. I didn’t want to start giving into it, saying, 'thank you' because I thought it was going to be the boys on the other end and you’d rock up to training the next day and you’d been done.
“I kept saying to him, 'I know this is one of the boys, you’ve not done me here'. He said, 'I’m going to send you the email with everything to prove that you are selected'.
“Maybe ten minutes later, I got the email and realised if someone is trying to trick me here, they’ve gone to a lot of effort, writing up a full email and making up a fake account. I started coming around to it and I think that sort of summed it up. I just didn’t believe I was a part of it.”
Taggart was incredibly happy to be a part of the squad and believes that it was great way to kick off his international career.
“Although a lot of the main players weren’t there (at the East Asian Cup), it was still fantastic to be there at such a young age and to gain that experience," said Taggart.
"I remember that first game, coming off the bench against Hong Kong.
“A lot of the older boys there, were players that I looked up to, so it was just great to be a part of it and to make my debut in a game like that was really good to kick off my international career.”
After few international appearances over the next few years, Taggart had a breakout season at the Newcastle Jets and won the golden boot in the Hyundai A-League 2013/14 Season.
His form culminated in a call up into the extended squad for the FIFA World Cup 2014 - an opportunity he took with both hands.
“The whole lead up to it, there was just so many things to take from it. From a lot of big players, to just the way the Socceroos setup runs leading up to a World Cup," said Taggart.
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“I think just the whole experience before the selection, was something that I didn’t take for granted and something that I appreciated a lot.”
As it gradually got closer to the day the final 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup 2014 would be announced, - coincidentally on Taggart’s birthday - the striker was starting to feel as if he was not going to be selected to play in Brazil.
“It had people like Josh Kennedy there and people who had been amazing for the Socceroos for so many years," said Taggart.
"I sort of didn’t expect to be involved but I was already so happy to have gained that experience."
Awaiting a call to tell if he was selected 23 or if he needed to pack his bags, Taggart stayed up until midnight that night.
“I got a message from one of the other boys when I was in my room asking if I had found it if I was going home the next day," he said.
"I hadn’t heard anything, and I wasn’t going to sleep because I was waiting for a knock on my door for someone to say that they were letting me know.
“I stayed up quite late that night, and every hour that ticked by I thought, wow they’re leaving it a bit late, I might have a flight in the morning.
"I think it got after midnight, and I just texted my mum back and forth to keep her updated, and I said I’m just going to have to go to sleep.
“In the morning, there was a couple of the boys coming into breakfast with their suitcases, and that’s when I realised that I might’ve been part of the 23-man squad, or someone’s forgot to tell me and I’m sitting there like an idiot.
“That was the moment when I realised 100% that I’d made the selection and it was unbelievable, I didn’t know what to do with myself.”
Taggart would go on to feature against the Netherlands and Spain in Brazil before an absence from the national team.
In 2019, he made his return for the Socceroos against Korea Republic and has since scored three goals in the three FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers he's played in.
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