AARON MOOY will be competing against football’s elite when he takes his place in Australia’s midfield in the World Cup Finals in Qatar.

The 32-year-old Celtic midfielder has been named in Graham Arnold’s 26-man squad for the sporting showpiece which kicks off on November 20 to December 18.

There is a place for Mooy, who agreed a two-year deal with the champions in the summer, in this morning’s announcement, but, unfortunately, former Hoops fans’ favourite Tom Rogic, 29, now at West Brom, has been overlooked.

ON THE BALL…Aaron Mooy shows his skills in one of his first appearances for Celtic.

However, all thoughts about the soccer extravaganza in the Middle East – which will commence with a match between the hosts and Ecuador a week on Sunday – will be shelved by Mooy as he concentrates on earning Premiership points for Ange Postecoglou’s men.

Scotland’s title kings will take on Motherwell at Fir Park tomorrow night and then face Ross County in the east end of Glasgow on Saturday before the break for the global competition.

Asked about the anticipated thrill of facing France, Tunisia and Denmark, 53 times-capped Mooy answered: “Yeah, for sure, but I am also at Celtic.

“It is a demanding club. The supporters expect good play and wins in every game. It is a good place to be to improve and to be ready. I am just enjoying the experience, just soaking it all in, trying to play as much as I can.

“The World Cup is obviously always in the back of your head, but I’ve a job to do every three days with Celtic. So, I try to think about every game and doing my best for the support.”

JOY BHOY MOOY…Celtic’s World Cup-bound Aussie midfielder is happy at the champions.

Mooy made his debut in the Champions League this season and came up against the likes of experienced double-act Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the back-to-back defeats against Real Madrid, a 3-0 loss in Glasgow and 5-1 in the Spanish capital.

The Croatian playmaker, in particular, impressed the former St Mirren, Huddersfield and Brighton star, who remarked: “He is a fantastic player. I have been watching him for years.

“He is still doing it now after so many years. He’s a unique player, so comfortable under pressure, he sees the moment to speed the game up or to penetrate with a pass. It is the level we all aim to be at.

“Madrid was a learning curve, obviously. They are a top team with top players. They were very clinical when they got their chances. They controlled the game so well.

“I haven’t played Champions League before. I have played in the Premier League and I have played against top nations at international level. It is similar. Real Madrid are one of the biggest clubs in the world. It was tough.”

OZ-SOME…Aaron Mooy hopes to enjoy the World Cup Finals experience with Australia.

Mooy is eager to mix among the best European club football has to offer and the experienced middle-of-the-park enforcer, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “I get the feeling the manager wants us to win games at this level. That is what we are all going to strive for in the future.

“Hopefully, we are back in the Champions League next season and can do that. That is his target, to be in the competition every year. That means doing well domestically and getting better results in the Champions League.

“It is obviously a lot better to be creating chances than not. That is what you want to be doing in every game. Still, you look at the score against Madrid and it looks like we got a proper doing.

“But I still think we have done well by taking the game to them and creating chances. That is how the manager thinks we are going to improve the most – by going at teams.”


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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