Former Joondalup junior Adam Taggart became an unexpected selection for the final 23-man World Cup squad on Tuesday night after popular forward Josh Kennedy was ruled out through a back injury.
Australians love an underdog story and Taggart is in a prime position to produce one of his own.
Born in 1993, the Newcastle Jets striker is the youngest member of the squad at 21 years old.
His unlikely call-up, coupled with his place as the ‘kid’ of the team, could see him become a fan favourite by tournament’s end, particularly if the swift attacker lands his name on the scoresheet.
Speaking with Australian Associated Press after the announcement, Taggart said goals were at the forefront of his mind.
‘To feel as though I’m contributing to the team and scoring goals is all I think about,’ he said.
‘Scoring goals is not at the back of my mind, it is right at the front.’
Taggart has already found the back of the net in Brazil, scoring in Australia’s 2-0 training game win over Parana Clube this week.
As the only West Australian in the side, he’s guaranteed to be the Sandgropers’ choice for player to watch.
But in replacing a cult hero like Kennedy, the stage is set for the 2013-14 A-League golden boot holder to win over a new legion of fans.
Taggart, who was only 13 when Kennedy made his World Cup debut in 2006, said he looked up to the aerial specialist as a young player.
He was now determined to ‘fill his shoes’ and ‘carry on the hard work he has put in to every game he has played for his country.’
The Socceroos face Chile in their World Cup opener on June 14 (kick-off 6am, WST).