In-form striker sets ambitious target after Socceroos recall: ‘I didn’t know if I’d be involved again’

Perth Glory striker Adam Taggart says he’s ready to fire the Socceroos to a spot at the 2026 FIFA World Cup after being recalled to the national team following a near two-year absence.

Taggart, 30, has been picked by Socceroos boss Graham Arnold for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Lebanon following a red-hot run of form in the Isuzu UTE A-League which has seen him bag 14 goals in 18 appearances.

“It feels great,” said Taggart after the latest 23-man Socceroos squad was named. “It’s something that I’ve always been trying to work towards throughout my career.

“Obviously being out of the squad for a while and coming back home and sort of finding my feet again, enjoying my football and enjoying playing back in the A-League it’s an honour to get the call-up again.

He continued: “Especially whilst doing it for Perth Glory. Yeah, (I’m) over the moon.”

The Glory captain will compete with the likes of Melbourne Victory’s Bruno Fornaroli, Portsmouth striker Kusini Yengi and Socceroos stalwart Mitchell Duke for a starting berth in the upcoming games with Lebanon and Taggart believes his versatility across the front line will leave him in good stead.

“Whatever the role is I’m happy to play it,” said Taggart when discussing his place in the squad. “I’ve played in a lot of different roles before in the Socceroos, sometimes starting, sometimes off the bench and they’re all great. So I’m just looking forward to it.”

Given his excellent domestic form this season Taggart’s recall to the national team isn’t overly surprising however the striker admits he thought his time in the green and gold may well have been over, especially after he was overlooked for two major tournaments.

“Being left out of the World Cup squad after being involved in most of the camps, I didn’t know if I’d be involved again.

“Like I’ve always said, my focus is always on club football and if you get those rewards then it’s a positive but you always need to put your focus in the right places.

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“I think I’ve been able to do that since I’ve come back to Perth and it’s just been a bonus to be back involved. It’s always been something I’ve enjoyed doing.

“I’ve always had a lot of respect for Arnie and those decisions are always tough so you know I’m just appreciative that he’s started looking at me again and that he’s got me back involved.”

Having already chalked up wins over Bangladesh and Palestine in the second round of qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the Socceroos now face back-to-back group stage matches against Lebanon in Sydney (March 21) and Canberra (March 26).

And while there’s still plenty of football to be played before the Socceroos can think about booking their tickets for the showpiece event to be held in USA, Mexico and Canada, Taggart is already dreaming of lining up for Australia at a second FIFA World Cup – 12 years after his first.

“I’m 30 at the moment and the World Cup is in a couple of years so I think age-wise, it’s definitely a good possibility of feeling fit and still (being) in the peak of my career.

“It’s definitely an ambition. The last World Cup I played at I think I’d just turned 21 so it’d be fantastic to play at another one…

He continued: “But obviously you need to make sure that you’re performing at a good level and that’s up to me really.”

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Whilst he’s proven himself once again to be one of the Isuzu UTE A-League’s deadliest marksmen this season, it hasn’t all be plain sailing for Taggart over the last few years as he struggled for both form and fitness during spells in both Japan and Korea. However the 30-year-old believes those tougher experiences have helped create the player he is today

“I think my four years away really helped,” said Taggart. “It was obviously a tough four years in two tough leagues and I thknk just coming back and trying to concentrate on enjoying my football and enjoying life as well, it’s definitely put me in good stea.

“This year especially I’ve really enjoyed playing football and I think being back at HBF Park and playing at a proper stadium, getting a proper pre-season behind me has really helped me and I enjoy the style of football we play here.

He continued: “I think it’s just been easy to slide back in to that enjoyment and week-to-week role of scoring goals. I think with anything there’s always going to be a lot of different factors but I think those are the main ones.”