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How long til Rogic becomes a Roo?

by John Davidson on Nov 05, 2012

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The Central Coast Mariners’ midfield maestro Tommy Rogic is a Socceroo-in-waiting who should be involved in Australia’s Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, John Davidson writes.

It could be described as Tom Rogic’s coming out party. A 7-2 home win over Sydney FC, the A-League’s glamour club, with Rogic at the heart of the record-breaking victory.

The 19-year old was a menace to the Sky Blues defence, scoring two goals and setting up several others. His fantastic dribbling ability was a constant threat and his vision with the ball kept Sydney FC at sixes and sevens all night.

Long-time watchers of Rogic, like his Mariners coach Graham Arnold, would not have been surprised. This is a kid who played futsal for Australia, starring for the Futsalroos, at just 16 years of age.

A player who won Nike’s The Chance, a global football talent competition, at the age of 18 after impressing judges such as Arsene Wenger. A gangly number 10 who Reading FC, now in the English Premier League, wanted to sign but couldn’t because of work permit dramas.

He already has a legion of admirers – from football development guru Ron Smith, who likens him to Dennis Bergkamp, to Arnold who says he has feet like Mark Viduka, and to former Socceroo captain Paul Okon who believes he has a big future.

Of course, it is easy to over-hype the kid. He has played less than 20 A-League games. He has yet to dominate week-to-week or complete a full A-League season. His goal-scoring haul is not yet impressive and his finishing rate needs to improve. His international experience is still raw – he was surprisingly overlooked by Australia’s junior national teams and has just one cap as an Olyroo. It is not time to throw him to the wolves of international football.

But, at the same time, you cannot ignore the potent ability and fantastic potential of Tomas Petar Rogic.

He is the kind of player that comes along rarely in Australian football. The type who can nutmeg an opponent, dribble past a rival with ease and split open a defence with a brilliant pass.

The boy from Canberra is exciting to watch and always a potential match-winner. He is the only Australian number 10 in the A-League and just may be the most fouled player in the competition.

If his development continues and he remains injury-free, it isn’t a question of if he will play for the Socceroos but when.

The friendly against Korea, where it is believed Holger Osieck will start several young players, may come too soon for the Tuggeranong United junior.

But Rogic should be involved in the Socceroos set-up at some point in the next six months. Even if it is just in an extended squad, to experience the demands of that level, to train with the Tim Cahills and Lucas Neills and learn off them, it would be good.

To see what he can do behind closed doors and to give him a taste what he can expect.

The attacker with Serbian heritage is the future of the Socceroos.

If bookmakers aren’t setting odds on how long until Tom Rogic makes his debut for the national team, they should be.