29/05/2024

Celtic celebrate a Tom Rogic equaliser: Credit Celticfc.com

After a disappointing international break, The Inner Sanctum takes a look at which Socceroos returned to their clubs with a bang.

Tom Rogic proved to be the difference-maker as Celtic moved 9 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership. 

In what was a traumatic international break for the Socceroos, there were plenty of Australians who returned to their club and hit the ground running. 

Tom Rogic 

It is one of the best rivalries in the world. The Old Firm derby is steeped in history and there have been many Aussies that have featured throughout the years. The most recent installment proved to be one of the most intense. 

It was effectively a grand final for the league. Should Celtic win, they would go six points clear of Rangers in second, effectively securing them another championship. Should Rangers win, points would be level, with only goal difference separating the two sides. 

Tom Rogic was always going to play a major part in the result of this game, he needed to step to the occasion, and he responded in kind. Scoring the equaliser after seven minutes, and playing scintillating football to give Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic an all-important six-point buffer. 

He was instrumental in securing the three points. Playing on the right-hand side of a midfield three, he was given a license to roam and dictate the tempo higher up the pitch. He was deployed as a ‘roaming play maker’, terrorising the Rangers defence and having a massive impact. 

The grunt and intensity needed to play in a big game was shown in spades, winning five of his eight ground duels, and succeeding in 50% of his dribbles. The methodical way that he goes about things normally wouldn’t be suited to the high-intensity nature of derby games, however, he showed that he can find the perfect balance between both and have a massive impact. 

This sort of game shouldn’t come as a surprise, as he has been impressive all season, contributing 12 goal contributions this league campaign and proving to be a crucial pivot in Postecoglou’s system. 

The form that he is finding in Scotland and the performances that he is dishing up could prove vital for the Socceroos’ chance at qualifying for the World Cup as someone who can rip the game apart and show individual brilliance that can send the nation to Qatar. 

Rogic didn’t feature for the Socceroos in their most recent fixtures due to injury, and his absence was felt. They struggled to create chances in the final third and were relying on only Ajdin Hrustic for their creative spark. With both Rogic and Hrustic in the side, this gives both players room to become more expressive rather than constantly support.

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Gianni Stensness 

Making his Socceroos debut over the international break, Stensness was pushed into the deep end and passed the test. He returned to his club team in Denmark with a point to prove. He led his side to a 1-0 victory in their first match of the season. Playing on the left-hand side of two centre backs, he was only dribbled past once and completed two blocks and two clearances. This performance will give him plenty of confidence as he looks to make the next Socceroos squad for the must-win matches in June.

Massimo Luongo 

Despite being out of the Socceroos for some time, Luongo is still performing very well for his club. Leading Sheffield Wednesday to a 2-1 victory, this win gives them a much better chance at securing a play-off position come to the end of the season. Luongo was instrumental, making eight ball recoveries and winning 75 per cent of his aerial duels, he was a man-mountain as one of three midfielders and was a key cog to the success of his side. 

Milos Degenek 

As the MLS is getting started once more, Degenek will play a massive part in Nashville’s hopes for success this season. The big centre back played a very good game over the weekend and proved that he is a more than capable replacement in place of the injured Harry Souttar. Leading his side to a 1-0 win, he proved crucial to his side’s success. He completed 88% of passes and wasn’t dispossessed at all, showing composure on the ball that the Socceroos desperately need. He also made five clearances, showing that he can be a ‘no-nonsense’ centre back if needed.  

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