Australia coach Postecoglou delighted to have Rogic, Kruse back for WC qualifiers

Australia coach Postecoglou delighted to have Rogic, Kruse back for WC qualifiers

With Australia`s forward line still lacking the required depth, Australia coach Ange Postecoglou was delighted to welcome back Tommy Rogic and Robbie Kruse from injury for next month`s World Cup qualifiers.

Both were named in a 23-man squad on Wednesday to host Bangladesh on Sept. 3 in Perth before heading to Dushanbe to face Tajikistan five days later in Group B of the joint 2019 Asian Cup qualifying campaign. 

Kruse, who impressed as Australia won the Asian Cup on home soil in January, returned to action with Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday after an ankle problem, while Rogic has shown promise after finally seeing game time at Celtic in recent weeks.

"Robbie has had some problems over the last couple of years," Postecoglou told Reuters at a coaching conference in Malaysia.

"We had him fit at the Asian Cup and he was fantastic for us so great to get him back, particularly in an area of the park where we still don`t have a great deal of depth, so guys like Robbie and Tommy Rogic will be good additions."

Attacking midfielder Rogic has endured a difficult time in Glasgow since joining the Scottish club in 2013.

Injured or out of favour for most of his first two seasons, he finally returned to the starting team recently and scored against Partick Thistle to earn a Socceroos recall for the first time in more than a year.

Postecoglou was wary of putting too much pressure on the 22-year-old but was happy the pool of creative talent to support talisman striker Tim Cahill was looking healthier again.

"Great to have him available again. The last few years he has had massive injury problems so just to see him fit again and Celtic have given him some game time," the former Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory boss added. 

"We don`t have massive expectations because it will be a bit of a slow process but we would love to get him involved as soon as possible so hopefully he can get his football back to where we know he can."

The Greek-born coach was happy to have midfielder Massimo Luongo, player of the tournament at the Asian Cup, also fit again and had no concerns that his skipper Mile Jedinak had been relegated to the bench at English side Crystal Palace.

"I`m sure he would prefer playing as well but he is still the captain of our country and Mile every time he has played for us has done an enormous job," he said. 

"Knowing his character it won`t be too long before we see him back in the starting eleven." 

Australia opened their bid to qualify for a fifth World Cup, and fourth consecutively, with a hard fought 2-1 win in Bishkek over Kyrgyzstan in June.

Next month`s Group B fixtures are expected to result in further wins for the Australians, but Postecoglou said the Bishkek experience had heightened the emphasis on getting home wins to ensure a smooth passage through to the next stage.

"We weren`t expecting an easy one," he said.

"The key thing for us after winning the Asian Cup and having that success there can be an element of getting too far ahead of yourself and we knew that first game was going to be a real tough challenge.

"The first game shows that at home we have to be really dominate and win our games as the away games are going to be tough trips."

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