Football 1 year ago

High-flyer Rogic on solid ground

  • High-flyer Rogic on solid ground

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 17: Tom Rogic of Celtic celebrates scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Play-off First leg match between Celtic and Hapoel Beer-Sheva at Celtic Park on August 17, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

From Scotland, to Gibraltar, to Ireland, to Kazakhstan, to Israel, to Australia, to the United Arab Emirates and finally, Spain.

It's not a game of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, but two months in the life of Socceroos star Tom Rogic.

The Celtic midfielder has certainly had his fair share of stamps in the passport on the road to Perth, where he's in camp with the Socceroos.

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"I've actually got to get a new one, I've run out of room," he said.

Rogic's international travels reflect his growing importance to his Scottish club, now coached by respected boss Brendan Rodgers.

The ex-Liverpool coach has made Rogic a focal point of his midfield in the first two months of his season, leading to European Champions League qualifiers in Gibraltar, Kazakhstan and Israel.

Their successful campaign has placed more European nights on Celtic's calendar, with Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Munchengladbach ties to come.

He's already played the Spanish superclub in a pre-season friendly in Ireland.

Ever the professional, the 23-year-old has given no thought to pinching himself at playing on the grandest stage.

"They're big names and big teams but it's just who we were drawn against," he said.

"In my opinion it's definitely the pinnacle of club football.

"It's about making sure we're ready for those matches and enjoying it because we're not there to make up the numbers."

From Celtic's pre-season through to the Confederations Cup next June, Rogic estimates he could play up to 70 matches this season but he's not about to reduce his Socceroos commitments.

"It's not something I've ever thought about - pulling out - and nor do I want to," he said.

"I'm feeling good. I'm more than happy to be here ... you take it as a massive compliment and honour.

"But it doesn't really stop."

After the Iraq match on Thursday night, Rogic and the national team travel to Abu Dhabi for a match against United Arab Emirates.

And the two games that await him when he returns from Socceroos duty?

"We've got an Old Firm match (against Glasgow rivals Rangers) when we get back on Saturday and then Barcelona away on the Tuesday," he said.

"It's all a bit crazy at the moment but I'm certainly loving it and long may it continue."

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