Taggart and Brillante eyeing World Cup berth


Newcastle Jets duo Adam Taggart and Josh Brillante together have the same dream to be the bolters for the Socceroos’ World Cup squad.

One has had the season of his life and his aim is to score goals by “pestering” defenders, while the other is the ultra-dependable country kid who can be the team’s Mr Fix-it.

Newcastle Jets duo Adam Taggart and Josh Brillante might be somewhat of an odd couple but together have the same dream to be the bolters for the Socceroos’ World Cup squad.

Perhaps surprise inclusions in the 30-man preliminary squad in some quarters, the youthful pair are adamant they aren’t in camp just to make up the training numbers.

Taggart enjoyed a bumper Hyundai A-League season, winning the competition’s golden-boot with 16 goals to have him firmly on the radar of European scouts.

His international strike rate is pretty good too, with three goals from four appearances at last year’s East Asian Cup.

With the likes of Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy and Mathew Leckie also vying for striking berths, the 20-year-old is no guarantee to make Brazil.

But the confident youngster believes he offers something different to the other three he believes could be an asset to coach Ange Postecoglou at the World Cup.

“For me, going onto the pitch I just want to be as energetic and buzzing around as much as possible,” Taggart said on Monday.

“I try and annoy and pester all the defenders to try and sneak a goal, that’s what I’m all about, I only want to score goals.

“I don’t put myself high, I just want to go on the pitch work hard and try and do a job and doing a job for me is scoring goals.

“You need to have that point of difference, that’s what professional players all have, something different to each other and it’s something I’ll be trying to utilise myself and do as best as I can with it.

“Those sorts of things are going to be what’s turning the games around and give us a chance of going through those group stages.”

The Perth-born striker said he plans to “train like an animal” to ensure he’s on the plane to Brazil with no guarantee of further World Cup chances despite his tender years.

While previous national team coaches haven’t looked on A-League players favourably when it came to selection, Taggart knows that is no longer the case under Postecoglou’s watch.

“He’s lived and breathed this league so he knows what’s it’s all about,” Taggart said.

“He understands the quality and the direction it’s going and credit to the league, it seems to be getting better and better each year, so the players coming through have to lift their standards.

“So for him being coach it’s a massive confidence booster and puts that belief in you that you are going to get a chance and him understanding the whole Australian mentality and culture is another thing in itself.

“At the moment there’s no time better to have an opportunity and have that belief that it’s going to come around and you just need to be ready when it comes.”

For Brillante, the call-up to the preliminary squad was a shock but one he is now hoping to grasp with both hands.

Equally comfortable in midfield or at right-back, the Bundaberg junior offers great versatility and he hopes that works to his advantage.

“Some people see it as good and some as bad,” Brillante said.

“But in a squad like this and being a young player it’s probably a good thing to have that versatility and hopefully it works in my favour.

“There are a lot of young blokes here so it gives the young guys a bit of confidence to think they are maybe a chance of going away.

“It would be unbelievable [to get selected]. Personally it’s what you strive for as a little kid. Coming from the country as well, a little town, it would mean a lot to my family too.”

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