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Does Adam Taggart’s rich vein of form have Socceroos ramifications?

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Expert
19th August, 2019
30

If you were caught up in the madness of a very busy weekend of football, where a host of major European leagues swung into action, news of the hat trick scored by Adam Taggart for Suwon Bluewings against Gangwon in South Korea may have slipped by.

Celebrating the achievements of Aussies abroad is an important aspect of football.

For the short-term future, out best and brightest will continue to play overseas, yet thanks to social media and an ever-increasing array of apps and streaming services, keeping up with their exploits, achievements and disappointments is far easier than in days gone by.

So much so that there has been extensive talk around Taggart’s impressive start to his K-League career.

The 26-year-old walked away from the Brisbane Roar with an opportunity to broaden his experience and add to his value.

The Perth-born striker has taken that opportunity with both hands and is banging in regular goals for the Bluewings. On Saturday, he found three more and took his haul to 16 in just 19 matches – a scoring rate the envy of any striker.

It reminded fans that he lingered on the A-League top-scorers list in 2018-19 for some time, even after his departure. Taggart’s 11 goals eventual left him equal sixth in the race for the golden boot, despite playing just 18 matches.

Those who can remember back to the early rounds of last season will recall a host of chances that Taggart missed with the goal mouth at his mercy.

Had a few more found the net, his goal-scoring would have been the talk of the league, especially considering the Roar were below average and slowly but surely unravelling the longer the season ran.

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That’s little more than a memory for Taggart and he appears to be loving life, football and his magic touch in his first season in South Korea.

Adam Taggart

Adam Taggart in action for the Roar last season. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Teams right across Asia will be watching Taggart and transfer periods will present potentially life-changing opportunities for him should his goal-scoring form continue.

One man keeping close tabs on Taggart and wearing a beaming smile across his face will be Socceroos coach Graham Arnold. The boss will also be keeping a keen eye on Jamie Maclaren at Melbourne City this season, knowing full well that he and Taggart are important cogs in the future development of the Socceroos’ scoring arsenal.

More importantly, they are the potential answers to the Socceroos’ chronic struggle of converting grit and determination into scoreboard pressure.

With Awer Mabil continuing to develop in Denmark after a wonderful Asian Cup campaign, where he was consistently the most dangerous Socceroo in the attacking half, and potential seasons of growth for Martin Boyle and Daniel Arzani in Scotland following their knee injuries, Arnold could take quite a dynamic and exciting squad into the first of Australia’s World Cup qualifiers in September.

Andrew Nabbout, Dimi Petratos and Chris Ikonomidis will also be sniffing about and the more you think about the potential make-up of the squad for those qualifiers, the more obvious it becomes that the Socceroos are in the midst of generational change.

The form of Taggart, a solid start to the season for Maclaren and healthy comebacks for Arzani and Boyle could well signify the end of the road for Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie and James Troisi.

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Australia's midfielder Robbie Kruse

(AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

They have been loyal servants, but it is time to replace their unproductive resumes with potential, invest a little and dream.

It is an exciting prospect for the national team: Taggart adding to his three international goals throughout the qualifying campaign and names like Mabil, Boyle and Arzani sitting in behind and creating dangerous situations upon which Taggart can pounce.

With Aaron Mooy receiving a Premier League lifeline at the 11th hour with Brighton, Massimo Luongo still an obvious part of Arnold’s plans and Tom Rogic hopefully taking another step forward with Celtic this season, the manager has decisions to make.

There is a combination in there somewhere that might allow Taggart to finally become what so many people hoped for, as he worked his way through age-restricted international representation and into the A-League.

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Let’s hope Maclaren starts well, Arzani returns with all the power and impact he has already shown and new Australian Boyle picks right up where he left off before injury.

A golden boot for Taggart would be something of an achievement – a rare one for an Australian overseas in a quality league. However, it would also firm his claims as Arnold’s preferred choice up front for the busy Socceroos schedule ahead.

He currently leads the golden boot race in South Korea by six clear goals. Hopefully his run continues and parlays into a much needed feast of goals for the Socceroos as they begin their journey towards Qatar 2022.