Behind The Play: Fit-again Taggart has it all to play for at Glory

Continuing a five-part series on A-League stars preparing for the 2016-2017 season, The World Game talks to former Socceroos striker Adam Taggart about finally beating injury, getting set to make his return with Perth Glory and his future ambitions.


Adam Taggart of Perth Glory challenges for the ball during the round of 16 FFA Cup match against Sydney FC Source: Getty Images

Adam Taggart has been waiting a long time for this, the chance to kick-start his career again, and he said that after finally getting on top of injury problems that had beset him for several years he was in the best possible shape to take advantage.

The 23-year-old striker told The World Game he now viewed the fact he wasn't eligible to play for Perth Glory last season, despite signing for the club in January, as a blessing in disguise because it meant he had nothing else to focus on but getting his body right.

Players cannot register for more than two clubs in a season and Taggart had already been at English Championship club Fulham and on loan to Scottish Premiership club Dundee United. Now he's back at Glory, where his A-League career began while he was still a teenager.

"I used those six months, from the end of January, to try to get on top of my body," he said.

"It was an opportunity most footballers don't get. You're always having to get ready for the game, and then you're recovering, and then it's the off-season, and then the pre-season.

"The club and I came to a decision to try to do everything we could to fix my groin and get my body in prime position and now I'm the best I've felt for three years - physically and mentally.

"It was pretty intense stuff and I didn't have an off-season at all coming into this season. I went in to the club every day to get myself right and it's a good feeling now the season is upon us, because I'll be able to see what I can do. I think now it was a blessing in disguise that I couldn't play."

Taggart is keen to make up for lost time in a career that still promises many good years ahead.

He won the A-League's Golden Boot award with his 16 goals playing for Newcastle Jets in the 2013-2014 season and subsequently represented Australia at the 2014 FIFA World Cup before heading to the UK, where his groin problems finally got the better of him.

"I'd had groin problems ever since Newcastle," Taggart said. "I had surgery on it, but I still had a few problems after that and it was hard to get back to where I wanted to be because I was always trying to push to get ready for a certain match or whatever.

"So when I had the chance early this year to put everything behind me and just focus for an extended period of time on getting my body right, with no pressure, it did me the world of good.

"I was going crazy for a while earlier this year, only being able to train and get treatment, but it was the best thing for me and I feel so good now because the competition is only a few days away from starting and I'm ready to be a part of it.

"I've played in a few pre-season games and gradually built up and now I'm absolutely buzzing to get out there."

It remains to be seen what sort of formation Perth coach Kenny Lowe chooses, but with Andy Keogh and Taggart both available to play up front there is the obvious possibility he will play with twin strikers.

"Yeah, look, I can't give too much away, but I think Kenny and the whole club are looking at going for a pretty attacking set-up," Taggart said.

"I think being so far away from all the other teams we have a unique advantage when teams come over here. They're not used to the travel, the heat and that little bit of time difference.

"I think we can try and use that to our advantage and really get on top of teams at home. It's up to Kenny, the exact way he wants to play, but in terms of our approach I'm sure it will be a pretty attacking brand of football."

Taggart said his ambitions were even greater now than before he played at the World Cup and went to Europe.

"To be honest, I'm probably aiming higher than what I did while I was still at Newcastle," he said. "Now that I've experienced a European set-up at a top club with top players, I've realised how achievable it is, that it's not unrealistic in terms of my targets and goals.

"I've come back here with massive motivation to do well and if I get the opportunity to go overseas again I'm going to take it. And there is still an opportunity for someone to fill the hole up front for the Socceroos long-term, as well. No-one has made it their own yet.

"But the first step towards any of that is to do well at Perth Glory. I supported the club growing up and I knew Kenny and the people in and around the set-up. I'm really motivated to get myself firing again and succeed here."

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5 min read
Published 2 October 2016 at 9:33pm
By Greg Prichard