Adam Taggart believes the relentless, high-intensity nature of Korean football has him primed to make the most of his first Caltex Socceroos chance in almost five years.
Taggart is one of a host of new faces in Graham Arnold’s squad for Friday night’s clash with Korea Republic after an excellent season in front of goal.
The 26-year-old striker banged in 11 goals in just 18 appearances for Brisbane Roar in the Hyundai A-League in 2018/19, which caught the eye of K-League outfit Suwon Bluewings.
After joining Suwon in February, the ex-Fulham, Perth Glory and Newcastle Jets hitman has gone on to score five times in 11 outings in the highly competitive Korean League.
While admitting the move to Asia has been challenging, getting outside his comfort zone has been nothing but positive for Taggart.
“The training intensity is extremely high, the Korean culture is very good like that. It’s just a way of life that I have tried to adapt to so far and I’ve enjoyed the experience,” Taggart told www.socceroos.com.au.
“The environment in general, it’s a hard working and intense environment. It is tough at times, but that’s why it’s rewarding when you can get through it and do well.
“For my football…the training loads and intensity, you have to improve yourself. Your thinking has to be a little bit sharper because you know you have three players coming up behind you at all times.
“It’s tougher to do well but a lot more rewarding. It’s definitely kept me on my toes so far and helped me to try and train at a [higher] intensity.”
That intensity is an attribute Taggart knows he will have to replicate under Graham Arnold in what is his first Caltex Socceroos call-up since 2014.
Back then Taggart was the bolter in Australia’s FIFA World Cup squad in Brazil, coming off the bench against the Netherlands while starting the final group match against then-world champions Spain.
Injuries curtailed much of the next couple of years of his career, but after a couple of seasons of consistent form and fitness, the Perth-born hitman is ready to make the most of his opportunity in Green and Gold.
“It’s nice to be back. I don’t get too far ahead of myself. It’s just an opportunity to be involved again and it’s up to me to try and take it,” Taggart said.
“There’s an opportunity, but there’s a lot of good attacking players. The boss [Arnold] probably wants a lot of depth in the squad and to use players at different times for different games, depending on different circumstances.
“[But] it’s definitely something I want to be a part of and I’ll do everything I can to stay a part of the set-up.”