Tom Rogic is the only player to represent Australia in futsal and football. Photo: Brendan Esposito
Teenage Socceroos star Tomas Rogic has urged other aspiring young soccer players to play futsal, and says coaches should stop discouraging them.
Rogic made his international debut with the Futsalroos in 2010 and just two years later earned his maiden Socceroos cap playing against South Korea last month.
The 19-year-old, part of Holger Osieck's Socceroos side at the East Asian Cup qualifying tournament in Hong Kong, said while soccer was always his main passion, its five-a-side counterpart played a vital role in fine-tuning his technical skills.
''I definitely think it could be a missing link,'' Rogic said. ''I think it's developed my technical side of the game massively. There are coaches and people who discourage futsal.
''I remember having some coaches who didn't want me playing it at all, even in the off-season, because they thought it would harm my development and be a negative for my football, but I found it completely the opposite. I think it's helped me immensely in terms of my footballing game today and I would really encourage all the young players to really get involved with it.''
The Central Coast playmaker, widely regarded as the only genuine home-grown No.10 in the A-League, has had a meteoric rise, only signing his first professional contract 11 months ago.
His ease with the ball and exciting style of play has earned him not only many fans but the respect of Osieck, who said last week: ''Whatever he does makes sense, it's quality.''
One of the more experienced Socceroos in the current experimental squad, Matt McKay, agrees. ''He's a real talent,'' McKay said. ''He's a big boy and he's strong on the ball and he's got a good touch. You don't want to be putting too much pressure on him but I can already see him evolving into a really great player.''
Rogic has caused a stir in the A-League but the likelihood is that he will be lost to Australian audiences with a move overseas almost certainly on the cards. But the teen isn't getting too carried away.
''Like any young player of course I have dreams and aspirations of playing in the top leagues overseas,'' he said. ''But it's been a pretty crazy journey the past couple of years and everything has just happened so incredibly fast with my club and playing for my country.
''If someone had said to me back then I would be playing for the Socceroos I would have laughed at the suggestion. So I just can't really think that far ahead.'' AAP