Soccer-Australia's Rogic joins Victory with World Cup in mind


Jan 20 (Reuters) - Australia playmaker Tom Rogic will join Melbourne Victory on loan from Scottish champions Celtic in a bid to play his way into Ange Postecoglou's World Cup squad, the A-League club said on Monday.

Rogic has hardly featured for Celtic since joining the Glasgow club a year ago with his lack of playing time jeopardising his hopes of making Australia's 23-man squad for the World Cup finals in Brazil in June.

The 21-year-old will land in Melbourne on Tuesday to formalise the five-month loan move, with Victory delighted to beat a number of their rivals to the signature of the highly-rated player.

"There has been a lot of interest in Tom's immediate future ahead of the World Cup and we are very pleased that his club, Celtic, has decided that Melbourne Victory is the best-fit for him at this stage of his career," head coach Kevin Muscat said in a statement.

"Tom is a talented young player and we look forward to seeing him grow even further during his time with us."

Rogic, who started his career with the Central Coast Mariners, will be hopeful of impressing enough to earn a place against Chile (on June 13), Netherlands (June 18) and then World champions Spain (June 25) when Australia line up in Group B action in Brazil.

However, the outlook is not so bright for 25-year-old forward Robbie Kruse who ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament playing for German club Bayer Leverkusen and is likely to miss the finals in South America.

"It is a tough break for Robbie, who was playing some great football and was certainly a massive part of our plans for the World Cup," Postecoglou said in a statement on Monday.

"It's fine to say he'll get another chance but you just never know and I feel for him as the 2014 World Cup was looming as a great opportunity for Robbie to show the world what he is capable of.

"I tried to contact him but I've been told he's pretty upset at the moment. I'll be in Germany in a couple of weeks' time and I'll try to catch up with him while I'm there." (Writing by Patrick Johnston; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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