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Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou praised the way Celtic have managed Tom Rogic’s return from injury and expects the Canberra product to be fresh for a big month for .
Postecoglou named Rogic in his 30-man squad for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia, as well as the friendly against Brazil and subsequent Confederations Cup.
The squad will be cut to 23 next Wednesday ahead of the Saudi clash at Adelaide Oval on June 8.
Rogic came off the bench at half-time in Celtic’s 2-0 victory over Heart of Midlothian on Sunday to wrap up their record-breaking Scottish Premier League title triumph.
The 24-year-old scored in his first full 90 minutes after overcoming an ankle injury in a 5-0 victory over Partick Thistle on Friday and will finish his Celtic campaign with the Scottish Cup final against Aberdeen this Saturday.
Rogic missed almost four months due to the injury, which required surgery, but returned to the pitch in early April to finish the season.
He faces a hectic couple of months with not only the Socceroos games, but also Celtic’s Champions League qualifiers in July.
Postecoglou was happy to have the Canberran back in the selection mix as the n team begins their push to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia.
“It’s good to have him playing again obviously and he missed an extended period of time, but I think Celtic are using him pretty wisely – they haven’t just thrown him back in there,” Postecoglou said.
“He’s playing bits and pieces of games and [Friday] night was probably his first 90 minutes, which was great for us because I think they [Celtic] have already programmed in that he’s got a big June ahead of him and are looking after him.
“So from that perspective I guess the positive is that Tommy won’t come in jaded after a long season. If anything I think he’ll be looking forward to having some games.”
The Socceroos squad will start arriving in Adelaide on June 2 to begin preparations for the crucial clash against second-placed Saudi Arabia.
sits three points behind the Saudis, who are level with group B-topping Japan on 16 points.
They have to finish in the top two in the group to avoid a couple of tricky play-off games to force their way to Russia.
A win over Saudi Arabia would see them draw level with them on points ahead of their final two group games – away to Japan on August 31 and then home against Thailand on September 5.
Postecoglou felt the Socceroos were in good shape going into their deciding three games.
“We’ve done a lot of work over the last couple of years for these games. We kind of knew the final three games in qualification were going to be the key ones and starting with Saudi at home,” he said.
“I think we’re in good shape – the work we’ve done over the last couple of years, the players we’ve exposed to international football and the experiences they’ve had.
“I’ve got no doubt we’ll be up for the contest and hopefully start June off with a really strong performance and the right result and carry us through the rest of June.”
While the World Cup qualifier was the most important in the Socceroos’ June schedule, he was hopeful they would be able to add a trophy to their cabinet in the Confederation Cup, where they have drawn Germany, Cameroon and Chile in their group.
They’ll warm up for that with a friendly against Brazil in Melbourne on June 13.
“When you look at Brazil, Germany, Chile and Cameroon – particularly the first three – you’re talking about three top-10 nations,” Postecoglou said.
“It’s exactly the arena we want to be in and the environment we want to test ourselves.
“It’d be great to get to the end of that month knowing we’ve acquitted ourselves well and maybe have another trophy in our cabinet.”
Socceroos squad: Mark Birighitti, Mitch Langerak, Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic, Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Rhyan Grant, Dylan McGowan, Ryan McGowan, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Bailey Wright, Mustafa Amini, Craig Goodwin, Ajdin Hrustic, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak (captain), James Jeggo, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Riley McGree, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tomi Rogic, James Troisi, Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Jamie Maclaren.
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