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Socceroos debut whets appetite for Canberran

Date

Lee Gaskin

Tom Rogic in action against South Korea.

Tom Rogic in action against South Korea. Photo: Getty Images

Tom Rogic returns to Australia with his national claims enhanced, while fellow Canberran Carl Valeri faces an injury-enforced stint on the sidelines.

Rogic's eye-catching 25-minute cameo in Wednesday night's 2-1 win against South Korea came as Valeri's 50th cap for the Socceroos ended in agony.

The 28-year-old midfielder limped off the field early in the second half with ankle ligament damage.

Valeri flew out of Hwaseong early on Thursday morning on the way to Italy to re-join Serie B club Sassuolo after his latest blow in a bad run of injuries.

Valeri missed five weeks with a hamstring complaint at the start of the campaign before fighting his way back into the first team.

There was no such concern for Rogic, the 19-year-old's injection into the game in the 67th minute marking the first time since 2009 that the ACT has had two Socceroo representatives.

Speaking after a recovery session in Hwaseong on Thursday, Rogic said his dream initiation to the Socceroos was yet to sink in.

''It would have been a perfect debut if that shot went in,'' Rogic said of his audacious 35-metre drive on goal.

''I just tried to keep it simple and do what I'm best at.

''In saying that, I was quite nervous.

''Wearing that jersey alongside all those [senior] players was a bit of a weird feeling.

''I was happy with how I went and getting my first cap.''

Rogic had a couple of neat touches after coming on for striker Archie Thompson midway through the second half, and didn't look out of place on the international stage.

The Central Coast Mariners star won't have any time to rest on his laurels, flying straight to Melbourne for Saturday night's A-League encounter with the Victory at Etihad Stadium.

It will be his third game in the space of seven jet-lagged days.

But Rogic won't be using the extreme travel as an excuse as he looks to press his case to be involved for next month's East Asian Cup qualifiers.

National coach Holger Osieck is expected to draw on the A-League and a smattering of Asian-based players for the matches with Chinese-Taipei, Guam, Hong Kong and DPR Korea.

''Like anybody else in the squad you want to continue to be part of the team,'' Rogic said.

''I'm not getting carried away with myself.

''In saying that I'd love to be part of the squad for the upcoming matches and do everything I can to do that.

''I'll go back to my club and do everything I can to get selected.''

Rogic is the fifth Tuggeranong United junior to progress to the senior national men's or women's team, joining Valeri, Western Sydney Wanderers defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Lindsay Wilson and former Matildas international Amy Taylor.

Valeri's father Walter, who enjoyed a long career in the National Soccer League, said having Carl Valeri and Rogic in the Socceroos would be a boost to Canberra juniors.

''It gives other young kids a bit of inspiration and something they can look at,'' Walter Valeri said.

''It shows despite not having a national league team in Canberra you can still live your dreams.''

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