'Special moment' driving Taggart ahead of Socceroos return to Perth
Adam Taggart watched on from the stands the last time the Socceroos were in Perth. As the Socceroos prepare to return to WA for the first time in over three years, the hometown boy is pressing his claim to lead the line.
Taggart shot himself back into the national team fold during a spectacular run of goal-scoring form for K-League club Suwon Bluewings in 2019, notching 21 goals in 40 matches.
He scored his first goals in green and gold in six years by firing a brace in Australia's 7-1 win over Chinese Taipei in October 2019, before coming up with the match-winner in the Socceroos' 1-0 victory over Jordan, the national team's first-ever win away to the West Asian nation.
The 26-year-old striker is one of Australia’s hottest striking properties. And it all started in Perth for the 10-cap Socceroo, who says turning out for Graham Arnold’s men against Kuwait would be an ‘unbelievable’ moment.
“My parents have never seen me play for the Socceroos live so it would be a really special moment if I was able to get on and play in front of friends and family and definitely something, I would want to tick off on my bucket list,” Taggart exclusively told www.socceroos.com.au.
Australia continue their march toward Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup™ qualification against Kuwait at HBF Park on March 26.
The Socceroos last played in Perth on September 1, 2016, where goals from Tomi Juric and Massimo Luongo found the net in a 2-0 win that would push Australia toward qualifying for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup™.
“I went to the last one in Perth in 2016,” Taggart remembers.
“HBF Park is such a nice footballing stadium, it's got such a nice atmosphere, it's very intimate, compact, the field is always fantastic so I think for another Socceroos match after watching the last one there it will be a great night and I'm sure it will be a nice atmosphere.
“It was one of those where I hadn't been involved in a few years and it was really nice to just go and watch the game. Obviously whether you're playing or not you still support them, so it was nice to go and watch some good mates there as well.
FAN DAY: Have a kick with your Socceroos before we face Kuwait!
ONE MONTH TO GO: Don't miss out as we kick off 2020 in style!
REDMAYNE FEATURE: 'I was told I wasn't good enough for the A-League'
“Any game of football that you watch you want to play and especially feeling so strongly about the Socceroos it was just a reminder of where I wanted to be and it was just a little boost in motivation to make sure I could get back there. I'm happy and grateful to be back there and involved again.”
Before Taggart jets home in preparation for Australia’s battle with Kuwait, the striker is preparing for the 2020 K-League season with Suwon, for whom he top-scored in his debut campaign.
He earned a well-earned rest in the off-season before being thrown right back into the action, making his AFC Champions League debut against a Vissel Kobe.
The J-League side boast a star-studded line up featuring Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta and Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen.
Suwon fell 1-0 in their opening game after Japanese striker Kyogo Furuhashi scored a 90th-minute winner.
“Kobe are a top side because they've got so many top players, they're a big side in Asia,” Taggart said.
“It was a great test for us but also great for the spectators to come and see Iniesta come and play.
“It was a great opportunity to put yourself up against some good players and just nice to be back playing football.”
Taggart’s side face Malaysian heavyweights Johor Darul Ta'zim on Tuesday March 3, although the start of the K-League season has been put on hold due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
Suwon won the Korean FA Cup last year but finished the league table a disappointing eighth.
“We're looking to improve because our performances the league probably weren't up to scratch,” Taggart said.
“It's been a really tough pre-season and I would expect us to be a lot stronger than last year. I would think that we can finish a lot higher up the table.”
AUSSIES ABROAD: Amini closes out win for AGF in Danish Superliga
AUSSIES ABROAD: Rogic starts and rallies Celtic for comeback over Kilmarnock
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 second round qualifying
Australia v Kuwait
Thursday, 26 March 2020
Venue: HBF Park, Perth
Kick-off: 6.00pm local, 9.00pm AEDT
CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!
Nepal v Australia
Tuesday, 31 March 2020
Australia v Chinese Taipei
Thursday, 4 June 2020
Australia v Jordan
Tuesday, 9 June 2020