Whether Tom Rogic will play in the World Cup in Qatar is the question that many anxious Socceroos fans want an answer to.
At 29, Rogic is arguably at the peak of his football prowess.
But after being absent from crucial World Cup qualifier wins over the UAE and Peru for ‘personal reasons’ in June, the gifted attacking midfielder looks set to be on the outside at the worst possible time when it comes to the national squad.
Coach Graham Arnold confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that Rogic will have only a small window to impress – at club level – after being overlooked in the two recent friendlies against New Zealand.
“He needs games and match fitness to be selected for Qatar,” the Socceroos boss said in August.
Whether Tom Rogic will play at the World Cup in Qatar is the question many concerned Socceroos fans want to answer (pictured, playing against France at the 2018 World Cup in Russia)
Rogic, 29, left Celtic in May after nine and a half seasons, winning six league titles, five Scottish FA Cups and five Scottish League Cups.
The Canberra-born attacking midfielder recently signed with West Bromwich Albion and made his championship debut on October 2.
Rogic recently signed Steve Bruce’s struggling West Bromwich Albion into the Championship, making his debut in a 3-2 defeat to Swansea City on October 2.
Questions remain as to why he signed for a club in the second tier of English football after nine and a half seasons with Celtic, where he won six league titles, five Scottish FA Cups and five Scottish League Cups.
Rogic himself felt that it was the right time for a new beginning.
“I was looking for a change of scenery and a new challenge,” he said.
“I didn’t want to rush anything. I think it was important for me to take my time and make sure my next club was the right one.
“I had some time to think and now I feel refreshed and energized and excited about the future.”
Rogic has always been his own man.
In addition to private life, he grew up in Canberra and made a name for himself in the futsal world before joining the Nike Football Academy after winning a global competition in 2011.
Arnold and the Central Coast Mariners then came calling, and Rogic quickly became an A-League star.
Graham Arnold will lead Australia to its first World Cup as a coach in November – whether Tom Rogic is in his plans remains to be seen
Australia has now qualified for five consecutive World Cups after returning to football’s biggest tournament for the first time in 32 years in 2006 (pictured, after beating Peru on penalties in June)
He was spotted in the background of a photo of a One Direction star at Melbourne airport
A groin injury shattered his dreams of playing in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and Rogic then turned to club football.
It wasn’t long before he became a club favorite at Celtic Park, with his ability to change a match in the blink of an eye, making him a star with the Hoops.
His decision to sit out the must-win games against the UAE and Peru confused many Australian football fans, as did Arnold.
The Socceroos boss has confirmed that 15 players have already cemented their place on his squad – and Rogic isn’t considered one of the few chosen ones.
The Rogic saga turned bizarre when it was spotted at Melbourne Airport in July – in the background of a photo with One Direction pop star Louis Tomlinson.
Ajdin Hrustic (top) is in Rogic’s absence. moved into midfield for the Socceroos
Garang Kuol, 18, made his debut for the Socceroos in a friendly against New Zealand in September and is being tipped to be a bolter in the final roster of 26 – he also recently signed a multi-year deal with EPL side Newcastle United
Arnold said at the time he was “concerned” about the midfielder’s well-being and confirmed he had contacted Rogic, but his text messages went unanswered.
When fellow Socceroo Aaron Mooy signed for Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic, Rogic acknowledged the news on social media – but his own future remained cloudy at the time.
Potentially ignoring the Socceroos coach in a World Cup year was an odd move – and Arnold, who will name his final roster of 26 players on November 14 – was reportedly stunned at the rejection.
And with the likes of Ajdin Hrustic and Jackson Irvine showing up in Rogic’s absence in Doha, Rogic may have gone from automatic selection in the XI to a bench option in November in Qatar.
An apology to Arnold would also be wise.
Ultimately, Rogic’s talent is undeniable – it could come down to whether he fits into Arnold’s team-first dynamic and can get up to speed to get off the ground in Qatar. There are only five games left at club level before the season pauses for the big tournament.
To you, gentlemen.