On the eve of Australia's clash with Greece at Etihad Stadium, Caltex Socceroos talisman Tim Cahill has backed Australia’s new breed of attackers to deliver goals for the national team.
Australia tackle Greece in the second match of the Dodoni Series, with Cahill set to skipper the side in the absence of Mile Jedinak.
Newly capped Apostolos Giannou started up front for the Socceroos in the opening fixture on Saturday night, with Mat Leckie coming off the bench to net the winner with virtually the last kick of the game to win it 1-0.
And with youngsters Jamie Maclaren and Chris Ikonomidis apart of the squad, Cahill is confident the future is bright for Ange Postecoglou’s side in the front third.
“I think it’s fantastic. I think people need to be patient, everything is pretty much a process,” Cahill said at the official press-conference on Monday.
“You see with Macca (Maclaren) getting his goals in the A-League, getting his opportunity against England, picking up a lot of experience in camp.
“You also the experience of 'Apo' starting and playing against Greece, a competitive fixture.
“Everything really is about their own personal performances with their club, consistently scoring than coming into camp and making an impact in training and from that they’ll get the rewards on the pitch.
“We’ve got a lot of great depth but I feel the most important thing is that they’ve just got to keep doing what the correct things are which is what is asked of them on the pitch.
“The rewards will come. If we were together more often than you’d probably see more goals but there’s definitely a lot of goals in these youngsters. “
Cahill was impressed with the performance of Leckie in Sydney, rejecting suggestions the Ingolstadt winger does not score enough goals in the green and gold.
Leckie’s strike was his third goal in 30 appearances for the Socceroos.
But Cahill hailed the attacker’s all-round output for the national team and said criticism of his performances were completely unwarranted.
“I don’t think it’s a relief. I feel that you’ve just got to let them play. Sometimes when you try and wish too much on players it puts more pressure on that’s not needed
“He’s one of the quickest players in the Bundesliga, he’s one of the fittest.
"He’s obviously hot property on the market but the main thing with Leckie is that he’s a complete athlete. If you check the contribution that he gives to any team he plays for, is above and beyond goals.
“Last Saturday was a reward for his hard work but that’s Leckie. His game is all about power, skill, speed.
“We’re pleased that he got his goal but I don’t want him to be relieved, I just want him to enjoy his football and for people to appreciate what he does off the ball, a bit like Krusie (Robbie Kruse).
“We’ve got two of the most attacking minded players that provide a lot of goals and also defensively as well as attacking.”
Tuesday night’s friendly is Australia’s final game before World Cup qualifying kicks off in September and Cahill emphasised the importance of the fixture, especially with spots in the team up for grabs.
“I truly believe there is no such thing as friendlies. This is not an exhibition game, it can’t be that mindset.
“We’ve got one goal, to do as well as we can and that’s to play as hard as we can and to make sure that we’ve left a lasting impressive that keeps us in this squad."