Why Taggart will become an even more deadly scorer under Arnold
He's arrived in Caltex Socceroos camp in Dubai in career-best form, tearing up the K-League with his incredible goal-scoring exploits for Suwon Bluewings.
But Adam Taggart is confident his red-hot form is just getting started and believes working under Caltex Socceroos boss Graham Arnold is set to take him to even loftier levels.
After getting an initial taste of Arnold's attacking and ruthless style in June's friendly against Korea Republic, the former Perth Glory, Newcastle Jets and Brisbane Roar hitman is hungry for more.
Always looking to improve his game, Taggart is relishing the chance to work under one of Australia’s best-ever strikers in Arnold.
“It’s nice to be playing under a striker. He [Arnold] grew up in that position so it’s great to share the same mentality of wanting to attack and score goals and put [opposition] teams on the back foot,” Taggart told socceroos.com.au.
“You’ve seen him [Arnold] do it with all of his teams previously. It’s nice to be involved in that, especially after the last camp, to get a taste of it and now this camp.
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“I want to try and take on board as much as I can and learn from him… he’s a top coach but obviously being a striker it’s nice to have someone above you sharing the same mentality of enjoying scoring goals and enjoying attacking.
“He’s someone I’m really looking forward to working under.”
The 26-year-old striker has been in imperious form for Suwon and currently has a four-goal buffer at the top of the scoring charts in Korea, netting 16 times in the league since joining the club in February.
It’s the type of form that has catapulted Taggart to be the prime candidate to lead the Caltex Socceroos attack in next week’s opening FIFA World Cup 2022™ qualifier against Kuwait.
And Taggart feels ready to accept the challenge as the man to provide the goals to propel the Caltex Socceroos to Qatar.
“It has been a fantastic period of playing regular football and a good run for (my) club, so I am really happy with how things are going in Korea and it has been a really positive time and I have enjoyed my football," he said.
"It was nice to come off the back of an enjoyable time with the Socceroos again (in June), which I think has really helped. It definitely gives you a little boost mentally and also football wise which I think are the two most important things.
"When you get those things right it seems to help you with your football, so I am really happy with the past two months.”
You can understand why Taggart's confidence is sky-high after his recent hot-streak in the K-League.
Taggart has scored 11 times in his last 12 outings for Suwon, including a hat-trick against Gangwon last month, while he also found the net in a friendly against Italian champions Juventus in July.
And capping a dream period for the striker, he also made a recent FIFA 19 Team of the Week alongside the likes of Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne and LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Despite terrorising defences and turning heads since joining Suwon, Taggart admits he didn’t set himself any specific goal targets after making the move from Brisbane Roar.
“At the end of the year the numbers take care of themselves if you focus on the right things,” he said.
“I’ve just been focusing on trying to do my best each week, trying to improve as a player and really just trying to take in all of the different aspects you can learn in Korea.
“But the most important thing I’ve tried to focus on is just enjoying myself. Football is a short career and it’s important to take in all the good times.
“It’s been a really positive period and I’m enjoying myself at the moment. I think that’s been my main goal and when you are doing that, your football goals seem to follow that.”
For Taggart, his selection in the squad to start Australia's journey to Qatar is not only a reward for form at club level, but also a long-awaited opportunity in the green and gold.
His appearance against Korea in Busan in June ended a five-year drought between international appearances for the Perth-born attacker.
Taggart featured in all three games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and earned an exciting move to English club Fulham in the process.
But a string of injuries curtailed his career from that point until his recent renaissance has him back in the national team and dreaming of potentially being a part of another FIFA World Cup campaign.
“It would mean the world. Being a part of the (2014) World Cup and previously the East Asian Cup and friendlies…I’ve always wanted to be involved in a qualifying campaign,” Taggart said.
“I think the excitement and the buzz that comes with it with so much on the line, every game has so much importance and such an opportunity that we all have.
“It’s fantastic to be involved in this first camp and hopefully I can stay involved and help the team and help the country get to where we want to be and kick on form there.”
Watch Kuwait v Australia from 1:30am AEST on Wednesday 11 September live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, and via the My Football Live App, Live, Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers.
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