Adam Taggart in Socceroos final 23 Adam Taggart kicks for goal during the practice game against Brazil second tier side Clube Parana. He and Oliver Bozanic both scored.
Adam Taggart in action against Parana Clube.
TweetFacebook Socceroos defeat Parana Clube 2-0The Socceroos make a solid start, defeating Brazilian Parana Clube in a warm up match. Pictures: Getty ImagesADAM Taggart has tonight became the first Jets player to be selected for a World Cup.
The 21-year-old striker was a surprise inclusion in the Socceroos’ final 23-man squad to compete in Brazil.
His promotion came at the expense of Josh Kennedy, who along with attacking midfielder Tom Rojic was ruled out due to fitness concerns.
Taggart, whose birthday was on Monday, was one of seven A-League players to make the cut.
“I’m over the moon,”Taggart said after the announcement.
“It’s a dream come true and something you can onlywish for as a little kid.”
He said he was “extremely grateful” and selection was “something I won’ttake for granted”.
With Tim Cahill and Matthew Leckie the only other strikers in the squad, the adopted Novocastrian has a chance of getting game time.
The Socceroos begin Group B against Chile on June 14 (AEST) before matches against Holland (June 19) and Spain (June 24).
There was no room for Jets teammate Mark Birighitti, who missed out to Germany-based Mitch Langerak, Adelaide United’s Eugene Galekovic and Mat Ryan (Club Brugge).
Langerak is on the comeback from a knee injury and Birighitti will stay with the squad until the opening game against Chile.
Right back Luke Wilkshire was the other player trimmed from the group, which has been in camp in Vitoria, Brazil.
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou had insisted from day one that fitness and form were the main criteria for selection and lived up to that mantra.
Kennedy’s injury is not thought to be serious, but having missed five weeks for Japanese club Nagoya Grampus on the eve of the World Cup, his back flared up during the Socceroos’ high-intensity sessions.
The stringbean striker, who scored the goal against Iraq which earned Australia a place in Brazil, was on course to play in the warm-up game against second division side Parana Clube on Monday before his back seized up at the end of training.
His setback opened the way for Taggart, who made the most of the opportunity with a well taken goal to seal a 2-0 victory.
Selection caps an amazing rise for the Perth-born front man, who scored a club-record 16 goals for the Jets to claim the A-League Golden Boot and Young Player of the Year awards last season, his second at the club.
Recruited by Gary van Egmond, Taggart was lured east after two seasons at the Glory in which he was stuck behind Shane Smeltz and Billy Mehmet.
He scored two goals in 19 appearances, nine in the starting side, in his maiden campaign in Newcastle before exploding into form.
Col ‘‘Bunny’’ Curran is the only Newcastle-born player to compete at a World Cup.
He was a member of the 1974 side, who until 2006 were the only Australian side to have made the final.
Ray Baartz was vice-captain but had his dream dashed by a career-ending blow to the throat in a lead-up game against Uruguay.
Meanwhile, coach Phil Stubbins confirmed that the Jets were close finalising a deal with a South American striker.
‘‘We have a couple of little hurdles in dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s to overcome, but hopefully that’s a formality and we will be in position to announce something very soon,’’ Stubbins told SBS.
‘‘He has played for his national team at an early age and is from a country doing good things and he would be a good, solid signing for us.
‘‘We believe that in tandem with Adam Taggart and Joel Griffiths he can be very effective.
“He has pace, strength and would handle the rigours of the A-League with no problem.”
The striker is a replacement for marquee Emile Heskey.
‘‘Emile was somebody who came and had a real impact at the club,’’ the coach said.
‘‘You can only say good things about the guy as a person and as a professional – but that said we have decided to take a different direction with the player we have in mind.’’