'More to offer': Personal motivation propelling Taggart to the next level
He’s struck 13 goals in 20 K League games, won Suwon Bluewings’ Player of the Month award, and scored against the Italian Champions, but Adam Taggart believes he has more to offer & is more determined than ever to take his game to the next level.
The 26-year-old has been in stunning form for Suwon since his move to Suwon in February, and that helped the forward earn a spot in Graham Arnold’s squad for June’s friendly clash with Korea Republic.
The forward’s superb first-time volleyed finish off a cross from debutant Terry Antonis - which helped the Bluewings to a 2-0 win over Daegu on Tuesday night (AEST) - epitomised his growing confidence and form on the football pitch.
However, Taggart admits that he needs to continue improving and performing to the best of his ability if he wants to be selected in Caltex Socceroos squads for upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
And, remaining in the national team set up could be one of the keys for the former Hyundai A-League attacker to take the next step in his football development.
“Although I’m doing well in Korea I feel I’ve still got more to offer,” Taggart exclusively told socceroos.com.au.
“To have the support network of the people in the Socceroos is only going to take your game to the next level and help you keep improving because that’s what I care about and enjoy.
“I got a taste of working with ‘Arnie’ (Caltex Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold) the last time but him and the whole coaching staff are a group of people I want to play for more and learn more off.”
Before his inclusion in the latest Caltex Socceroos squad, Taggart hadn’t featured for Australia since the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Despite winning his first cap in five years in June's Busan friendly, the striker is acutely aware that he needs to continue to earn his place.
“It’s an honour to play for your country and obviously having such a long time out; the last experience was a really nice feeling to be back involved,” said Taggart.
“I’ll do everything I can to stay involved but I never expect to be anywhere, I’m not one of those people that say ‘I should be here, I should be there’.
“If I get the opportunity to stick with the Socceroos I’ll be over the moon because I’m really enjoying my football at the moment and I’m sure I would enjoy it even more if selected in future Socceroos camps.”
While Taggart is benefiting from working with the Caltex Socceroos set up, he explained his current run of form isn’t due to any particular changes in his approach to football.
“I’ve just been fit really and I’m enjoying my football,” said Taggart.
“Every single day it’s enjoyable to go into training. It’s a great club, it’s a great environment, everyone has the mentality that I like to be around and I think I’m just enjoying myself.
“Of course, I have my individual things you do every day and every week but it’s nothing new. I’ve been doing the same thing for last five years.
“I’m just really relaxed in the way that we’re playing at the moment and every game I just really look forward.
“That’s what’s maybe behind it, when you are enjoying your football, you always seem to do well.”
He added: “But the fans here [in Suwon] are unbelievable, they are so supportive.”
“I look forward to each game so much because they create such a nice and positive atmosphere and they really get behind the team.”
With a passionate supporter base comes high expectations, but Taggart has thrived under the challenge of playing at Suwon in Korea Republic, where he believes he will only continue to improve with the arrival of fellow Australian Antonis.
"It’s great that Terry is here. He’s a top player and someone I’ve always enjoyed playing with," said Taggart.
"[Tuesday's] was a great assist and I’m sure it’s only the start of a good partnership here."
With Caltex Socceroos qualifiers looming, the K League experience is one that's helping prepare Taggart to potentially take on Australia’s AFC Group B FIFA World Cup qualifying opponents – Kuwait, Nepal, Chinese Taipei, and Jordan.
“These [AFC] qualifiers are always tough, it doesn’t matter who you are versing,” said Taggart.
“The past few campaigns have shown it’s always quite tough because each country is quite different and they all have that fighting mentality.”
However, Taggart has already shown that he’s capable of thriving under pressure & against World Cup opponents.
His stellar form for Suwon recently earned him a place in the K League All-Stars team, where he took his opportunity to play against Italian Champions Juventus with both hands.
He said: “I was excited going into it and it lived up to its expectation.”
“Playing with the best players in the K League as well for a couple of days was great in itself and to be able to play 45 minutes against a top team in the world was really good.”
On his goal, he added: “To be able to score was just icing on the cake and just a big buzz.”
“When you score against top teams and big opponents like that it’s a nice feeling.
“It’s only a friendly match so it doesn’t really mean anything in the big scheme of things but on a personal level it does and it’s a moment I’m sure I will remember for a while.”