Adam Taggart has been cleared for Socceroos World Cup duty after an injury scare, thanks to his K-League club Suwon Bluewings putting Australia’s interests ahead of their own.
Concerns were raised over Taggart’s availability for Tuesday week’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kuwait after he was withdrawn with a sore hamstring late in the 2-0 loss to Gyeongnam eight days ago.
However, an MRI revealed nothing sinister, and as an extra precaution to ensure the 26-year-old would be on the plane to Dubai for Australia’s pre-game camp, Suwon rested him from Friday’s 1-0 win over Jeju United.
“We know how much it means for Adam to play for his country in such an important game and we wanted to make sure he got that opportunity,” said Suwon’s media chief Eun Ho Lee.
“The decision was made by our head coach Lee Lin-Saeng to rest him, even though he might have played, because he understands what the national team means to Australian players.”
The club’s medics gave Taggart a seven-day recovery time after sustaining the injury.
“We had the same approach when (Socceroos defender) Matt Jurman was here - and we fully understand the passion these players have for their country and always want them to do well on the international stage,” added Lee.
Taggart is expected to be fully fit in a matter of days, which will be a relief to Australia coach Graham Arnold who is hoping the 16-goal K1 League marksman can replicate his club form for his country.
“It’s important to keep the motivation of players high and playing for their country is a big part of that,” added Lee.
“It’s not right only to keep everything for our club and not to care about the national team.
“If you’re a player in a class like Adam, you always have to think about the national team and getting picked.
“It’s good for all parties ... playing for his country will only help Adam’s development as a professional.
“After these players come back they become more mature and the club benefits from that also.
“The players also appreciate the support from the club and are motivated to give back to the club. That’s what we learned when Matt Jurman was here.”
The news may not be so positive for J-League-based Socceroo back-up goalkeeper Mitch Langerak who may be in serious doubt after limping off with a foot injury in Nagoya Grampus' 2-1 loss to FC Tokyo.