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Rivers-Shooting clash lights up Port Harcourt


Regular game time crucial: Rogic

The most crucial element in a young player's development is regular game time, teen Socceroos tyro Tomas Rogic feels.

And while the star playmaker may be getting plenty of it in just the 11 months since his professional debut with the Central Coast, sadly the same can't be said about his time as part of the 20-man Socceroos squad currently in Hong Kong for the East Asian Cup qualifiers.

Brisbane duo Ivan Franjic and Matt Smith have played both games so far against Hong Kong and North Korea while fellow rookie Aziz Behich has also started both times.

And while Rogic played 35 minutes on Wednesday the likes of Eli Babalj, Aaron Mooy and Terry Antonis didn't play at all.

Coach Holger Osieck, who has said his main focus of the tournament was to develop the team's rookies, said after Australia's 1-1 draw to North Korea: "if I had played the young boys with their lack of experience, it would have been a negative experience for us."

He has vowed to unleash them in the Socceroos final two matches against Guam on Friday and Taiwan on Sunday, with Australia in the precarious position of needing to better North Korea's goal difference should they beat Hong Kong.

Mathew Ryan made his debut playing the full 90 minutes against North Korea with Osieck planning to give two matches each to him and Adelaide's Eugene Galekovic.

Ryan's Mariners teammate Rogic feels the biggest factor in their rapid rise into the national fold has been the belief in their ability displayed by coach Graham Arnold in giving them regular game time at club level.

"First and foremost the biggest thing is that we've been given the opportunity to play regular first-team football," Rogic told AAP.

"Not many young players in clubs around Australia are able to say that.

"So credit really must go to Arnie and the coaching staff at the Mariners because I found, especially last season being the youngster, the new kid on the block I just had so much encouragement and belief from the coaching staff around me that it made it quite easy for me to do my job and play."

The mild mannered, articulate 19-year-old says he's happy with the amount he's played in Hong Kong so far especially with the gruelling schedule of four games in seven days.

And he says being part of the squad environment at international level has just as many merits.

"Just being in the team environment here with the Socceroos is really beneficial," he said.

"It's hard to describe but I'm finding it a little bit strange being in the same team with guys I used to watch on TV when I was a kid, it's a really good feeling.

"So I'm just trying to soak up as much information and advice from everybody be it the coaching staff or the players."


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