Leckie excited about potential positional change

Caltex Socceroos attacker Mathew Leckie revealed he has spoken to Graham Arnold about the possibility of playing as a striker in the coach’s new-look side - and that the prospect excites him.

Leckie has largely played out wide for Australia in an impressive national team career that has seen him win 57 caps and score eight goals.

But the 27-year-old can also operate as a striker and believes he can be “dangerous” in that role, if required, as the Caltex Socceroos prepare for Saturday’s friendly against Korea Republic in Brisbane.

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“I had a quick chat with ‘Arnie’ about it [playing up front],” Leckie said on Thursday.

“He said it was an option … it’s not concrete. [But] with the new style, he wants our front three men to be very high and narrow so, I mean, whether you’re on the wing or in the centre, it’s not too much change.

“I’ve played a couple of games for the Socceroos there [as a striker] and at club level, when I first went to Germany, I was a striker as well. 

“I think it’s an exciting position as well and I think I could be dangerous in that area as well.”

Mat Leckie celebrates his winner against Greece in 2016.


Just two players in Arnold’s squad - Mark Milligan and Robbie Kruse - have won more Australia caps than Leckie.

And the Germany-based attacker said he had been revitalised by Arnold’s aggressive approach since the former Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners boss took over from Bert van Marwijk.

“He really wants to play an attacking style,” Leckie said.

“He wants his forwards to be super aggressive and stay in a really high position, play very direct and forward.

“The Kuwait game [Australia won an October friendly 4-0] was really promising and we look to improve that and keep going in the upcoming friendlies.”

Following the clash against Korea Republic - a re-match of the AFC Asian Cup 2015 final, won by Australia in extra-time - a friendly against Lebanon, in Sydney on Tuesday, is on the menu.

The two matches are the last competitive ones the Caltex Socceroos will play before they try and defend their AFC Asian Cup crown.

And Leckie has urged the likes of Awer Mabil and Jamie Maclaren to take their chance over the next week with spots in Arnold’s squad up for grabs.

Maclaren


“We’ve got a lot of forwards now coming to the camps,” Leckie said.

“Some young boys coming in, obviously Awer, he’s made his debut, he’s started really well and, Jamie, you know, he’s back in the set-up.

“Those boys are working hard as well to try and get a spot in the Asian Cup.

“The two friendlies coming up are the perfect way to show what they’ve got.”

The Caltex Socceroos’ match against Korea Republic is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland in partnership with Brisbane City Council through Brisbane Marketing.