Logan Rogerson back at the All Whites after five years away and a lot of perseverance

Logan Rogerson is determined to make the most of the international lifeline handed to him by All Whites coach Danny Hay.

The 23-year-old has been called up to the men’s national football team for the first time since 2016 for their upcoming friendlies against Jordan and Uzbekistan and has a chance to put himself in as part of the FIFA Cup qualifier. world later this year.

Rogerson made his debut against Oman in 2015 under Anthony Hudson, shortly after playing under Hay in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup that year, alongside four of his current teammates – Joe Bell, Callum McCowatt, Sarpreet Singh and Michael Woud.

Two more caps followed at the Oceania Nations Cup the following year when a host of All Whites regulars were missing but he has been in the desert ever since.

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In 2016 he was with Wellington Phoenix, where he ended up making 11 A-League appearances, including five in his last two months at the club.

Despite scoring twice once he finally got his chance, he was not given a new contract at the end of the 2017-18 season and headed to Germany for an injured stint and ultimately unsuccessful at third-tier club Carl Zeiss Jena. .

After returning to New Zealand, Rogerson spent two summers with Auckland City in the former New Zealand National League, before signing for HJK Helsinki in Finland’s Veikkausliiga last April.

A shoulder injury limited his ability to make an impact there – and hampered his chances of pushing for a place in the OlyWhites squad for the Tokyo Olympics – but a loan move to FC Haka gave him a new breath and, at the end, a full-time contract for 2022.

“The decision he made to return to Europe after a bad experience in Germany was a brave one, and I think that says a lot about him as a person and his character,” Hay said this week.

“By his own admission, he probably wasn’t on top when he came back there, but after watching him at the end of last season on a number of occasions, he really found his feet.”

Rogerson said the support of FC Haka coach Teemu Tainio, a former Tottenham Hotspur player in the English Premier League, had been a boost during Veikkausliiga’s final season.

Logan Rogerson found his feet playing for Auckland City, before returning to Europe last April.

Shane Wenzlick/Photosport

Logan Rogerson found his feet playing for Auckland City, before returning to Europe last April.

“I think playing regularly is what every footballer needs and I didn’t understand that at HJK.

“Once I found the club and the coach who believed in me and would give me playing time, I knew everything would come after that.

“At the Phoenix I didn’t play a lot, and when I went to Germany it was the same story and I come back to Auckland City, I played a bit, I found my feet, I went in Helsinki it didn’t work out there, but now I’m in Haka where I have a lot of playing time.

“I think it’s been a problem for me, just finding regular minutes, but once I get those minutes I know what I’m capable of and I can show everyone what I can do. and what kind of footballer I can be.”

Rogerson last represented New Zealand in 2019, where he captained the side that won the Oceania Under-23 Championship to qualify the country for the Tokyo Olympics.

But after failing to make his HJK debut after arriving in Finland last April, only playing half-time for their reserves before August, he didn’t make the cut when Hay built up his squad and reserves. for the Olympic football tournament last July, and had to watch the OlyWhites advance to the quarter-finals from afar before losing to hosts Japan in a penalty shoot-out.

“Obviously Danny had to pick a team of players who were playing consistently and that just wasn’t me at the time,” Rogerson said.

“It was hard for me to watch the Olympics without being in it, but I think it’s a way of building my character. I went on loan, I found playing time, and now I’m Things kinda happen for a reason, I guess.

Rogerson knows that making an All Whites squad for the first time since June 2016 – one of the longest waits in team history – is only the first step.

He must now earn the chance to add to his three caps by impressing Hay once the team meet at camp in Abu Dhabi next week.

“The thing about Logan is that he offers dynamic movement,” Hay said.

“He’s a really good dribbler with the ball at his feet, and he’s looking to break lines, so he offers similar characteristics to Joey Champness, and it just gives us a bit of a different look, if we decide to go with it. a front three and two true wingers.

“I could also see Logan playing alongside Woodsy in the front two – you get someone who really wants to break the lines and work behind it.”

After playing Jordan [kickoff Saturday 4am NZ time] and Uzbekistan [kickoff Wednesday, February 2, 4am NZ time], the All Whites have the Oceania World Cup qualifying tournament in Qatar in March, which begins ahead of that month’s international window, the period when players are due to be released from their clubs.

With Veikkausliiga’s new season not expected to start until April, Rogerson is one of a handful of players who will have no clashes in mid-March, which could be a feather in his cap as he looks to ensure his long-awaited. the return to the national team is not unique.

“It will be a big year for the All Whites and for New Zealand football with the World Cup at the end of this year and the Intercontinental Qualifiers and Playoffs,” Rogerson said.

“As a footballer it’s not just a straight line journey, it’s up and down and side to side. I think that’s been my football journey, but I love being footballer and playing football, so every obstacle that came in front of me, I had to fight my way through.

“I hope this year will be a good year for me. I can’t wait to be there.

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