Fresh from his full World Cup debut with the Socceroos, striker Adam Taggart says the next challenge is getting his new club back up where they belong: the Premier League.
Taggart, who turned 21 at the World Cup, landed back in Sydney on Thursday night with a small number of Socceroos and support staff.
Clearly fatigued but excited at the prospect of the next challenge in his burgeoning career, the Hyundai A-League Golden Boot was whisked away to Newcastle before his imminent move to London.
He’ll have little time to rest with the Cottagers already into pre-season under German taskmaster Felix Magath as they look to bounce back from EPL relegation last season.
“It was something I really wanted to do,” Taggart said of his move.
“To go overseas and test myself at the next level at such a great club with such a great history with great coaching staff.
“It’s the next challenge for me to improve and develop.
“For us, we’re looking to get back to that top league [EPL].”
Fulham have a strong squad with established and experienced players such as Kieran Richardson, Martin Stekelenburg, Costa Rican Bryan Ruiz and former England international and Spurs midfielder Scott Parker. The squad has been bolstered with the addition of German right back Tim Hoogland as well as Taggart on a three-year deal.
It’s been a whirlwind seven weeks for the West Australian-born forward.
He began as a Newcastle Jets star in the A-League and Socceroo hopeful at a camp in Gosford. Now, he has a deal with a powerful English Championship club and is a fully-fledged World Cup Socceroo after his starting debut against Spain.
Asked about the Socceroos’ campaign at the World Cup and the former Perth Glory player said the Socceroos had surprised a few around the world.
“We really wanted to show the world what we can do and our preparation, staff and players were absolutely fantastic throughout.
“In the end we didn’t come out with the results but measured ourselves against the best teams and players in the world.
“Now we know where we’re at. It’s all about moving forward, improving as a team, country and individuals.
“Hopefully next time we can go that step further in four years.”
As for the doubters who predicted this young and inexperienced Socceroos would be smashed in all three games?
“I think we proved them wrong, in terms of the way we wanted to play,” said Taggart.
“And we surprised some top teams, especially Holland. That was some of the best football Australia has played.
“It again shows the direction the country is heading in.
"We’re pleased with our progression but at the same time we want to be a winning country and compete with the top sides in terms of results and getting through that group stage.
“Which needs to be a must for the next time [at Russia 2018].”