Adam Taggart ready to provide the gift of goals for Socceroos

June 10, 2014

Sebastian Hassett

Football reporter

On a mission: Socceroos striker Adam Taggart.

On a mission: Socceroos striker Adam Taggart. Photo: Getty Images

Although Socceroos striker Adam Taggart knows he won’t be starting ahead of Tim Cahill at the World Cup, he promises to be on a singular mission if given a run off the bench by coach Ange Postecoglou.

Taggart’s brilliant season with the Newcastle Jets, where he scored 16 goals to secure the Golden Boot, has given the striker enormous confidence heading into this month’s global showpiece.

While he was perhaps a surprise inclusion in the final 23-man squad, Taggart is under no illusions about what he can bring to the team should he be given the chance to prove himself.

“I think the only I thing I do is score goals, I can’t really do much else,” he joked after training on Monday. “Scoring goals is my main focus and added to that is obviously work rate and effort, which is just a given [because] everyone knows it’s something that’s expected of everyone.

“Personally, as a striker, goals are something I’m always focusing on. Away from training it’s something I’m working on all the time.”

Taggart has looked especially sharp in the penalty box at training during the week and had no doubt that can translate into goals on match day.

“Come the games, if I’m on the park that’s really the only thing I’m thinking about. That’s how I feel I can contribute to a team,” he said. “It’s just like the keeper with keeping the ball out of the back of the net – I feel I can contribute by putting it in the back of the net.”

It’s been an “extremely exciting year” for Taggart, who by his own reckoning was preparing to become a winger, not a striker.

“Starting the season in Newcastle last year, it was looking like I was going to be playing left wing. It was only because Emile [Heskey] got injured at the start of the season which gave me the opportunity – I guess similar to here in the way [axed Socceroos striker] Josh Kennedy got injured,” he said. “It’s a massive blow, but it opens the door up for myself so it’s up to me to go and take it.”

Briefly given a chance in last week’s friendly against Croatia, Taggart is hoping for more game time against Chile this Friday in Cuiaba in Australia’s opening match of the World Cup.

“For me it’s about everyday at training and if you get the opportunity, you need to be ready. It’s what Ange is making sure of,” he said. “It’s not going to be about the first team or second team, everyone’s in it together. We’ve all got to put a shift in so if the opportunity comes, I’ll be ready.”

The analysis of Chile from the national coaching staff is now in full swing, with the players already being given detailed breakdowns about how La Roja play the game.

“A lot of today [at training] we were working on high pressure and getting in behind because that’s a massive way that we can exploit Chile,” Taggart said. “They play a really high line and as we’ve seen in their previous games a lot of the goals scored against Chile were from balls in behind, early crosses, things like that.

“That’s something everyone seems to know now. That seems to be their weak point so we’ll try to exploit that as much as we can.”

If Taggart does manage to get some game time in Brazil, he knows an impressive performance in the green and gold will alert managers from all over Europe and Asia, where his long-term ambition lies.

“It’s no secret that of course I want to go overseas and challenge myself, it’s the next level in terms of club football,” he said. “It’s a lot harder over there and that’s the way I like it.

“But here all my focus is on the World Cup and, in terms of agents and stuff like that, I don’t even want to know what’s going on behind the scenes because all the focus needs to be here. If you do well here, there could be opportunities elsewhere.”

However, it’s not all bad news for Taggart if he does end up staying with Newcastle, where he remains contracted. They’ve just signed arguably the A-League’s most dynamic attacking midfielder, Argentine genius Marcos Flores.

“For someone like myself, who’s a No.9, it’s great to have a real No.10, which is probably something we’ve lacked for a while – a real playmaker, someone who’s going to set up goals and he can score goals, he’s good on the ball,” he said. “So for me I think it’s a great signing and I think the whole community will be behind him.”

Source : The Sydney Morning Herald

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