One is a former Hyundai A-League goal-machine, the other is a current A-League goal-machine. Together Adam Taggart and Jamie Maclaren hope they'll provide the Olyroos a cutting edge in Qatar.
Fulham striker Taggart believes his partnership his mate from Brisbane Roar Maclaren could be the crucial element the Olyroos need to book their ticket to this year’s Rio Olympic Games later this year.
The pair is set to form a speedy and lethal attacking combination at next week’s 16-team AFC U-23 Championship in Qatar.
The tournament doubles as the qualifiers for Rio 2016, so needless to say, Australia will be hoping the pair hit a purple patch in Doha.
“Me and Jamie’s main focus is on scoring goals and it will be nice to link up and have that attacking force and have a direct way of going forward against these teams,” Taggart told www.footballaustralia.com.au on Thursday.
“It’s another element we can add to our game as a team.
“We’re expected to win and sometimes [being direct] is going to be the better option. It would be really good if we can do that and if the opportunity comes I’m sure we’ll both relish it.”
The Olyroos' group games in Doha:
• UAE next Thursday January 14
• Vietnam January 17
• Jordan January 20
The Olyroos are currently in a week-long training camp in Dubai and are set to fly to Qatar on Sunday.
Taggart admits he’s excited to be back in amongst the group of which the core has been together for the last five years.
The Fulham striker admits he’s endured a “tough transition” in Europe over the last 18 months but says it’s given him a lift to see so many of his Olyroos team-mates doing well at club level.
Leading the way is Maclaren, who is in the best nick of his career having scored seven goals for Hyundai A-League leaders Brisbane Roar.
“He’s [Maclaren] had some tough times with the start of his career in the A-League so it’s nice to see a mate doing well and scoring goals,” Taggart said.
“There’s no better feeling than scoring goals each week so I’m happy for him and hopefully he can continue it and show everyone his qualities in the A-League.”
“It’s always good to see everyone progressing in their own individual and coming together for such an important tournament at this important time is exciting for all of us,” the Fulham attacker added.
With the majority of Aurelio Vidmar’s squad to be too old to remain in the Olyroos set up following the Olympic, this will be the last campaign this group will be together.
That’s motivation enough for Taggart to make every day count over the next couple of weeks to ensure the side qualify for Rio.
“We all know how special it’s going to be in Brazil,” Taggart said.
“I was lucky enough to experience it before [at the World Cup in 2014] and the culture over there and how football crazy that place is, the experience that all of us will be able to get if we make it will be really good.
“At the same time we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. There’s a lot of talk about qualifying but the most important thing is to focus on each day.
“We have to make sure we’re improving in training, make sure we get the most out of each session because if we don’t do that and only think about qualifying it will turn our biting us in the butt.”
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