WONDER BOY: Tom Rogic, here taking on Barman Topu of Bangladesh, says he’s fit and ready to go against Kyrgyzstan tonight.
WONDER BOY: Tom Rogic, here taking on Barman Topu of Bangladesh, says he’s fit and ready to go against Kyrgyzstan tonight. Paul Kanegetty IMAGES

Rogic: adversity made me a stronger player

STAR midfielder Tom Rogic is still eligible for the Olyroos team at only 22, but he's had to cope with a nightmare run with injuries in his relatively short professional career.

But Rogic is hoping that's all behind him now as he makes his comeback from a troublesome groin in the World Cup qualifier against Kyrgyzstan in Canberra tonight.

Rogic was a glaring omission from the Socceroos' Asian Cup triumph in January, and he also missed last year's World Cup in Brazil.

Only arriving in Australia 48 hours before kick-off, Rogic is fresh from a cracking strike for Scottish side Celtic against Ross County on the weekend.

He is keen for that momentum to continue, and the man first dubbed the wonder-kid of Australian football a couple of years ago believes he's stronger for his hard road to recovery.

"It's not easy. I guess it's just part of football. You just have to deal with it and come back stronger, I guess," Rogic said.

"It's been a learning experience, and one I feel that has improved me as a person and a player.

"I feel as though I've come out of it stronger. It's helped develop me further."

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While Rogic will be welcomed back into the Socceroos fold, winger Mathew Leckie has been ruled out.

He has been battling a respiratory illness that has prevented him from flying out of Germany - where he plays for FC Ingolstadt - and will miss tonight's game and next Tuesday night's qualifier against Bangladesh in Dhaka.

Leckie joins defender Matthew Spiranovic (calf) as withdrawals from the 23-man squad for the back-to-back qualifiers.

Skipper Mile Jedinak also arrived in camp having only played 90 minutes over the past three weeks.

In good news, though, goalkeeper Mat Ryan (knee) and left-back Jason Davidson (calf) were both passed as fit and available.

Despite the two injury omissions and concerns over the fitness of a handful of others, Australian coach Ange Postecoglou denied it was a concern going into a match his side needs to win.

"The work that we've done over the last two years means I'm not nearly as stressed about injuries as I was previously," he said.

"The guys that are here are in good condition and in good form.

"Apart from Josh Risdon and James Meredith, all have had good experience at international level so I'm a lot more comfortable.

"To be honest our last performance (2-0 loss to Jordan) wasn't that great, so I would have made changes anyway."


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