Qualified: Tom Rogic celebrates after Tuesday's win. Photo: Getty Images
Tim Cahill has anointed him Australian football's next big thing, but Tom Rogic says the side's old guard still has a vital role to play at next year's World Cup.
The Socceroos were dubbed ''Dad's Army'' during their successful qualifying campaign, with Lucas Neill, Mark Schwarzer and Cahill in line to play in their third World Cup in Brazil.
Cahill recently nominated Rogic the youngster most capable of assuming his role as the Socceroos' marquee man. He took Rogic under his wing in camp, before his cameo role off the bench in Tuesday's 1-0 win over Iraq.
Half the age of Schwarzer, 20-year-old Rogic believes Australia's golden generation hasn't reached its use-by date yet.
''A lot can happen in a year, but I certainly feel guys like Lucas and Schwarz are still very crucial parts of the team, and they'll certainly be there in a year's time,'' he said.
''They played great roles in getting us there and without them, would we have qualified? Who knows. The experience they've had the past two World Cups, their leadership is really something that helps young players like myself.
''They're really good at guiding us in the right direction, they talk about their careers and how they got there, which is really helpful.''
Rogic said he still pinched himself at the thought of playing alongside players he idolised as a child.
Rather than being daunted by the tag placed on him by Cahill, Rogic embraced it.
''I don't think it's pressure, I just think it's a big compliment when it comes from Tim,'' he said. ''I've been fortunate to spend a fair bit of time with him this week. He has taken me under his wing in a way. We play in a similar position in an attacking sense. He's given me some great advice and he's someone to look up to as a role model.''
Just two years ago, Rogic was playing in Canberra's local competition, before a stellar two seasons with Central Coast won him a deal with Scottish club Celtic.
Rogic said the impact of fellow youngsters Robbie Kruse and Tommy Oar during qualifying had given him belief he could break into the starting line-up before Brazil.
''It's good some younger faces have come into starting roles, it gives a young guy like myself confidence we can do it,'' he said.
''Being thrown in the deep end playing these important matches and getting the results certainly helps. No team goes to the World Cup with the intention of just making up the numbers. The goal for almost every team has to be to at least get out of the group, and I don't see why that's not possible.''
With Australia desperately needing a goal to seal a World Cup berth, Rogic was thrust into Tuesday's qualifier with 30 minutes left to help create a decisive chance.
It arrived in the 83rd minute through Josh Kennedy. Rogic said the faith coach Holger Osieck had placed in him at such a crucial stage boosted his confidence.
''It was the biggest game Australia's had for a few years in front of 80,000 people, and I played my part in it,'' he said. ''Of course I was nervous and there was a bit of pressure, but when the coach turns to me it's a good compliment.''