He’s had the A-League season of his life but World Cup hopeful Adam Taggart insists his desire to earn a ticket to Brazil has had nothing to do with it.
The Newcastle Jets’ striker has been labelled a World Cup bolter after an impressive season featuring 16 goals to earn the Golden Boot award on Monday.
It’s a stark contrast to the meagre two goals he scored the previous campaign and the reason is clear.
He played more than double the amount of minutes, starting all but two games this season.
With injuries hampering marquee forward Emile Heskey’s campaign, Taggart was given his chance to shine and he took it with both hands.
But the 20-year-old, who was also named young footballer of the year, said hopes of being selected for the June showpiece in Brazil played no part in spurring him on.
“To be honest, during the season it didn’t motivate me any more than wanting to score goals the year after a World Cup,” he said.
“It doesn’t really bother me.
“I’ve just wanted to do my job the best I can and develop as a player and a person.”
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou will name his extended 30-man squad on May 14 with all then taking part in a 10-day camp in Terrigal before he settles on his final 23 players.
Now the A-League season is over, Taggart says he’s turned his attention to making sure he’s fit to give himself the best opportunity for selection.
Postecoglou has always maintained players who are in form and playing regularly will get noticed and Taggart hopes he’s shown the coach enough.
“For us to have that confidence in him that if you’re doing well, you’ll get the opportunity is lovely,” he said.
“Having an Australian coach with that understanding is a massive motivation for us because he understands us as footballers and has been there every week to see us.”
Taggart has again attracted interest from Europe and says he’s looking into his options.
“It’s still ongoing and it’s something I’m just leaving up to management at the moment,” he said.
“Of course I want to go overseas. I’ve always said it would be silly for any young player to say they don’t.
“So after this year, it would be really nice to do that and take that next step.
“But now, I’m just trying to give myself the best opportunity for the World Cup.”