Socceroos Spotlight: Rodgers draws lofty Coutinho comparison with Rogic

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers paid a major tribute to Caltex Socceroos star Tom Rogic by comparing him to his former Liverpool pupil Philippe Coutinho.

Elsewhere, there's exciting confidence exuding from another Australia midfielder, who believes he's in career-best form ahead of the FIFA World Cup.

Catch up with that and more in our latest Socceroos Spotlight.


Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has opened up on his admiration for chief playmaker Tom Rogic.

The classy Aussie became the first player since 2002 to score in four Old Firm derbies in a single season when he netted in the title-winning 5-0 victory over the weekend.

READ: Rodgers scores as Celtich clinch Scottish title

Beloved by the Bhoys' supporters, Rogic also has a big fan in Rodgers, who admits he would "love" to keep the 25-year-old at Celtic Park.

"He's the best player at understanding where the space is and that allows him to receive the ball better than anyone. His reception skills are amazing," Rodgers told the Telegraph.

"He has the brain to find space, we see it in training every day and in the games, that's why he's so elusive.

"He's difficult to pin down because he can find the space and from there, technically, he can score. He's highly-gifted technically."

Rogic made his name as an Australian representative in futsal and Rodgers says he shares the same DNA as ex-Liverpool and current Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho.

"Coutinho was a futsal player. The ball's a bit softer in futsal so you can manipulate it and gain confidence with it," the former Reds boss said.

"Tom has about size 14 feet, so how he works the ball around plates that size is even more incredible. That's what people won't recognise, but his feet are soft and he's got a great view of the game - and he likes to score goals.

"We know his strength as well as his technical ability and that's what you need if you're going to perform at a good level."

Tom Rogic
Rodgers: "He knows how much I rate him as a player."


While Rogic still has a few fixtures remaining, fellow midfielder Massimo Luongo has already switched attention to the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

The star of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup campaign was named Queens Park Rangers' Player of the Year over the weekend, giving him a well-timed shot in the arm.

"I feel I've played the best football of my career at QPR this season and this is a brilliant way to round off a positive season for me," Luongo told the club website.

"This award will give me a great boost.

"I feel I've played well for most of the season, but I've really enjoyed the last few months when the goals have come and we've played some good stuff at times."

The 25-year-old expressed gratitude to manager Ian Holloway for entrusting him with greater responsibility.

"He's put his trust in me this season, even after international trips when some managers in the past have pulled me out," Luongo added.

"I feel I've benefitted from that and hopefully now I can take this form into the World Cup."


Finally, some good news on the injury front for Ryan McGowan.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup squad member has reportedly returned to light training duties as he steps up his rehabilitation from February's knee surgery.

McGowan made three appearances for the Bantams before he was struck down by the unfortunate setback.