Celtic's Tom Rogic swaps donwtime for Down Under in summer
The next scheduled break for Rogic won’t arrive until January 2018. Yet, that prospect is embraced not feared by the 24-year-old. In no small part because he has only recently returned to action following four months out after requiring ankle surgery.
Celtic’s schemer will look to add to his Aberdeen goal collection at Pittodrie tonight – the attacker netting in his last visit there and in the League Cup final victory over Derek McInnes’ side. Soon he will be adding oodles of zeros to his air miles courtesy of a summer programme in which he will fly out the day after the Scottish Cup final on 27 May to his national team’s training camp.
There he will prepare for a vital World Cup qualifier at home to Saudi Arabia on 8 June. Five days later there is a juicy friendly against Brazil, which will act as a warm-up for participation in the Confederations Cup.
Ange Postecoglou’s team require to travel to Russia for the tournament that acts as a dry run for the hosting of the World Cup the following year. In a group that requires them to face Germany on 19 June, Cameroon three days later and then Chile, even if Australia do not progress beyond the initial stages, the timing of the Chilean section closer on 25 June would mean Rogic having to head straight to Celtic’s training camp in Austria.
If the Socceroos somehow make it to the final on 2 July, that would mean Rogic heading back to Scotland just in time to begin the build-up for the Champions League qualifier that Brendan Rodgers’ men will contest on July 11/12.
Rogic has no grumbles about football having becoming a year-long concern for those pitching to play at the very top. “There are no months off now where players can just go off and do what they want,” he said. “You have to be pretty professional all the way through the year. At international level you want to be involved in major tournaments and challenging for them. If we qualify for the World Cup the same thing could happen again next year, so you just have to be ready for that. And enjoy your breaks, whatever small time off that might be. What is at stake outweighs the desire for a holiday.
“And as I have missed a period of the season, from my point of view I would certainly feel ready to go [again for Celtic]. It is not like it is going to be a surprise or anything if I have to come back in early, or come back in straight for the game. I should be in good shape leading into those qualifying games.”
It helps that when he jets across the world, he takes care over his nutrition, his hydration and his sock choice. Big ones are always required. “Compression garments to help your circulation,” he explained. “I wear all these things. It is modern football – you get used to it. “
Rogic, meanwhile, has had to get used to his manager refering to him as his “magic man” – a reference to his ability to produce stupendous game-changing goals.
“He calls me that all the time and it’s funny. He’s been first class for everyone at the club,” Rogic added.
First class is the way he will want to travel.