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Tom Rogic and Ajdin Hrustic rumours boost Socceroo hopes in Qatar

The rumoured interest Everton manager Frank Lampard has in former Celtics star Tom Rogic is music to the ears of Socceroos fans.

After leaving Ange Postecoglou’s hoops last European spring, the 29-year-old’s next club has intrigued, with interest from the A-League and Indonesia apparently considerable.

Rogic seemed keen to take time away from the game and concerns rose around his state of mind, as he appeared in search of some space and solace outside professional football after almost a decade in the top flight in Scotland.

Spotted in Sydney, Rogic remained tight lipped about his next move and logic suggested that domestic clubs with the purse strings required were circling a man who would automatically become one of the biggest stars in the league.

Should the information now emanating from the UK prove correct, Rogic may well have merely been enjoying some winter sun in Australia, with another posting in Europe on the cards and a career reignited with a struggling Premier League club.

Lampard is battling with a team almost certain to do it tough in the 2022-23 season and the lone point gained from the opening three weekends has not been the start required.

The 44-year-old Englishman needs to add something to his squad to avoid relegation, just as they did by the skin of their teeth last season.

The best thing Aussie fans could hope for right now would be a quick decision, a medical and some kilometres in the Rogic legs before Graham Arnold selects his touring party to travel to Qatar in November.

Whether that takes place at Everton is not the be all and end all, yet playing regular football is vital for each and every member of the squad heading into a World Cup where the Socceroos could get their teeth well into the group stage.

A-League players begin competitive play outside the Australia Cup matches on October 7, with four or five serious hit outs likely before names like Rhyan Grant, Jamie Maclaren, Bruno Fornaroli, Andrew Redmayne and Craig Goodwin get their likely call-ups.

Jamie MacLaren of Melbourne City celebrates scoring a goal

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Those abroad have a little more playing time, yet also face the challenge of doing so in a more competitive environment where their playing minutes are often restricted.

Mat Ryan’s recent move to FC Copenhagen in the desperate hunt for consistent play has been brilliant news for Arnold, as has Aaron Mooy’s arrival at Celtic, where Postecoglou did not hesitate to throw the 31-year-old into the fray.

Jackson Irvine is playing consistently and recently scoring in Germany at St Pauli, Awer Mabil had debuted for Cadiz in Spain, and Martin Boyle has made a glorious return to Hibernian after his time in the Middle East.

Trent Sainsbury is already a crucial part of the Al-Wakrah defence in Qatar, Riley McGree is playing hard and consistent football at Middlesbrough, while Kye Rowles is doing the same at Hearts in Scotland.

Should Rogic join the long list of fit and hopefully in-form players who travel to Qatar, the Socceroos will be about as prepared as they can possibly be.

However, Ajdin Hrustic’s plight at Eintracht Frankfurt is something of a concern. Like Rogic, a quick move to the Spanish or Italian clubs reportedly interested in his services would be an added boost to hopes of the Aussies stunning Group D and advancing to the knock-out phase.

The challenge of players returning to international play without the foundational work being done in the months prior has long been an issue. Coaches have often spoken of the importance of selecting only those who have done so, yet there have also been rare exceptions.

That reads worryingly for Rogic should negotiations extend into September and his pre-World Cup pitch time remain non-existent.

Hopefully we see the Canberran suit up for the Toffees and Hrustic on the books at Real Betis in the near future. Should both occur, the Socceroos will be ready to fire at the World Cup.

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