Osieck: Celtic must start Rogic before Australia can

The topic of why Celtic's promising young midfielder has not been starting for Australia prompted a stern response from the Socceroos' coach this week

Holger Osieck has defended his decision not to start Celtic youngster Tom Rogic against Brazil earlier this month.

The Socceroos suffered an embarrassing 6-0 defeat to next year's World Cup hosts, and with another big game against France coming up next month, there have been calls for the German tactician to blood some of Australia's young stars against world-class opposition.

In something of a heated exchange with a journalist this week, Osieck said he didn't start Rogic as he was not fit to play a full match against the South Americans.

"I had him in Brazil and he came and carried a groin injury so he was more on the medical bench rather than on the training pitch," said Osieck.

"In order to give him some kind of psychological boost and support I gave him a couple of minutes so to give him the feeling 'Yes I'm part of [this] group'."

Rogic started only his second game for Celtic in all competition so far this season on Wednesday and was substituted in the 65th minute of their shock 1-0 loss to second tier outfit Greenock Morton in the Scottish League Cup.

Osieck has said he is keeping a close eye on the 20-year-old's performances for the Glasgow club, but does not believe Rogic is capable of featuring regularly at international level in his present condition.

"Right now he is not fully fit and we have to acknowledge that," said Osieck.

"It is a matter of diligent research to look into the position of the player, what is he doing in his home environment, why is he not playing and why is he not at the level we expect him to be … that is a problem, but I can assure you I'm on top of it."

Osieck will be hoping to call on Rogic for the upcoming friendlies against France and Canada but understands that it may take some time for the youngster to regain full fitness.

"I wish he was fit and could already play as a starter, but it's not on right now, circumstances just don’t permit it."

Having come under heavy fire after the loss to the Selecao, Osieck hit back at his detractors, pointing out that the Socceroos have already secured their spot at Brazil 2014.

"We are in the early stages of preparing for the World Cup and we made the major step and we are already there," said the German.

"A lot of great football nations are still struggling [and] maybe won't even get there, so to question me then - that's a little bit out of order."

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