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Rogic cuts through Aussie football stigma

AAP logoAAP 13/11/2016 Emma Kemp

There are many factors driving Tom Rogic to new heights at Celtic, but one sure motivator is his desire to dismantle the lingering stigma that Australian footballers struggle to make it to the top overseas.

Immense talents such as Rogic and fellow Socceroos star Aaron Mooy appear well positioned for careers at the top of Europe after making waves in the Scottish Premier League and English Championship.

Yet with only a handful of Australians having played at the world's biggest clubs, they're aware that to do so would defy the odds.

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has spoken extensively of his belief an archaic perception problem is the only thing holding back local players.

Rogic is cutting through that cultural cringe, his excellent form for Celtic last season seeing him linked to English Premier League powerhouse Arsenal during the summer before he signed a new three-year deal under new manager Brendan Rodgers in August.

The 23-year-old's decision to stay has been vindicated by moments of class such as his half-volley against Aberdeen a fortnight ago among the other seven goals he's scored in 19 games this season.

And though his approach is unpretentious, almost self-deprecating, Rogic believes his rise is proof Australian players can dare to dream big.

"Growing up in Australia, football is not the dominant sport," Rogic said.

"A lot of the countries in Europe, the players grow up only knowing football and nothing else, and they're closer to their friends and family.

"Realistically if we want to make it to the top level, as Australians we have to move to the other side of the world and prove ourselves over there.

"It's part of the game, and part of the reason we do it. It's always nice to prove people wrong."

Rogic and Huddersfield Town midfielder Mooy shape as two of Postecoglou's first picks for Australia's starting XI to face Thailand in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier.

It's a safe bet for the coach, who has praised the pair's ability to showcase their creative style in two leagues more well-known for their grit.

"That's how they're getting people to notice. In two very tough, physical leagues they're standing out because of their football and not the physical attributes," Postecoglou said.

"Hopefully internally it shows to Tom and Aaron, and other players coming through, that just because you're Australian doesn't mean you have to be put in a certain box.

"Maybe don't seek validation from outside, just do your thing."

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