A lot has happened for Socceroo Adam Taggart in the eight years since his first taste of World Cup football for Australia.
Taggart was a then 20-year-old who’d won the A-League Men Golden Boot after a breakout season with Newcastle Jets.
A move to English Championship side Fulham was already sealed before Taggart was then picked in Ange Postecoglou’s squad for the 2014 World Cup.
He featured in two of Australia’s three games in Brazil before injury wrecked his time in England.
After missing out on the 2018 World Cup squad, Taggart is back from a knee injury for Australia’s upcoming playoff matches in Qatar where the Socceroos face the United Arab Emirates and then, if victorious, Peru for a spot at November’s finals.
Taggart says he’ll aim to relish the experience even more as a 28-year-old than he did in 2014.
“At that age, as much as you know that it’s a massive tournament and it’s an unbelievable experience, it probably doesn’t really quite sink in and hit you as much as the feeling I get now thinking about going to another one and the motivation to go to another one,” Taggart told AAP.
“When you’re that young, you just sort of you feel like it’s going to come every year almost and it’s not that I didn’t appreciate it or anything like that, because I knew it was sort of big, but I just think as you sort of get a little bit older and you experience so many different things in football, it’s sort of it helps you to realise and helps you put into perspective what an amazing experience, what amazing opportunity it is and how much I’d love to be back there.”
Taggart is one of several players in Australia’s 29-man squad for the playoffs who have been to a World Cup before, and he says those who have been there will need no more motivation to perform in the upcoming games to ensure the Socceroos qualify for a fifth-straight finals.
“It’s massive these couple of games because the motivations are so high and obviously a lot of the other boys have been to a World Cup as well,” he said.
“Obviously I didn’t go to the last one, so it’s been a long time.
“I’ll be buzzing … Big couple of games to make sure that we can experience that again.”