Socceroo Tom Rogic says he hopes to build on his return to competitive action for Celtic Development Squad this week, though he concedes he’s far from 100% fit.
Rogic, 22, told Celtic’s official website (http://www.celticfc.net/news/7953) that the 45 minutes he got under his belt against Motherwell are a starting point for his return to full fitness.
For the former Mariner and Nike Chance winner, it was his first appearance for the SPL giant in nearly 18 months following recurring groin issues.
“At this point in my career I want to be playing first-team football, but after being out for so long I’m just very happy to get some minutes and I’m sure I’ll play a handful of games coming up for the Development Squad to get those important minutes in the legs after not playing for so long,” Rogic told www.celticfc.net
“Hopefully I can just help them and contribute to their season and progress as well in the short-term and look to build on that.
“There weren’t really any butterflies or anything and I’m not getting carried away as it was 45 minutes and the next step in my rehab.
“But it’s the first game situation I’ve had in a very long time and it’s just something I’m looking to build on."
If Rogic can build on this and return to playing club football regularly, he'd be a real chance to return to the Socceroos as the Road to Russia 2018 begins in June.
The retirement of attacking midfielder Mark Bresciano has opened up a spot in the Australian squad, though the ascension of Massimo Luongo – named this week by 442 UK magazine as one of the top ten players outside the EPL – and the eye-catching form of James Troisi and the emergence of Aaron Mooy won’t make it easy to break back into the Asian Champions’ starting XI.
But there’s no doubt a fit Rogic will be a huge asset for Ange Postecoglou as he eyes the World Cup qualifiers as well as the 2017 Confederations Cup.
“It was a big moment for me,” Rogic added.
“Nothing compares to playing a game at any level so to get back out there and play a free-flowing match and not have to worry about my injury and just get on with the match was a positive feeling.
“After so long it was nice to not worry about that but I’m not saying I’m 100% fit – I still have work to do – but that’s a big step in the right direction after a long time.
“It’s hard to think too far ahead after everything that’s happened but the support from the fans is positive.
"Whenever I’ve been at matches supporting the team all the fans that have come across have been very positive, which is nice and reassuring, and my focus has just been on getting fit.”