Caltex Socceroo flyer Mat Leckie admits he needs to become a more prolific goal scorer for the national side but hopes his stoppage-time winner against Greece can help silence critics of his attacking output.
The winger came off the bench with 30 minutes remaining and netted the decisive goal with virtually the last kick of the game in front of almost 40,000 fans at a rainy ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
Leckie’s strike was just his third in 30 internationals and the 25-year-old admitted it was a relief to add to his tally in the green and gold.
“Yeah definitely, it’s been a while. Not just that is was the last second of the game made it a bit extra special but just to score myself personally and to help the team get the result we needed,” he told reporters on Sunday.
“Obviously it’s not good to hear but I know I need to score more goals. Hopefully it will keep people quiet for a bit but I’m hoping it doesn’t take that long to score again.
“I’ll work hard to continue playing well and if I can score more, then I think I’m happy and everyone else is too.”
A new-look Socceroos looked impressive against the 2004 European champions with Ange Postecoglou handing starting debuts to Jason Geria and Milos Degenek, while youngster Alex Gersbach was thrown on in the final 10 minutes.
Geria and Degenek looked assured at the back throughout the 90 minutes while former Sydney FC fullback Gersbach provided the crucial assist for Leckie’s match-winner.
And Leckie hailed the increasing depth within the Caltex Socceroos set-up, insisting the competition for places is bringing the best out of the players.
“I think for the team it’s great. That’s one thing Ange has done really well is to find a lot of depth in the team through players that a lot of people maybe never heard of or knew where they were,” he said.
“He’s pulled them out of nowhere and there’s some quality players as well. It’s good for us in training, it’s challenging that we keep on our toes and keep training well to keep the spots...”
Australia face Greece in the second game of the Dodoni Series on Tuesday night at Etihad Stadium, with the short-turnaround likely to see Postecoglou rotate his squad.
Melbourne-born Leckie could come into the starting line-up for the clash, though the Ingolstadt attacker revealed he is short of match fitness following the conclusion of the Bundesliga season.
“Obviously I’d like to start because it’s Melbourne and I’d like to get some good minutes in,” the Melbourne-born attacker added.
“I’m pretty sure we’ll get a good crowd there’s a lot of people have a Greek background here in Melbourne so hopefully there’s a good crowd and a good atmosphere.”
Australia make strong start in Phnom Penh on road to Thailand and Tokyo
The Australian U-23 National Team got their 2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualification campaign off to a strong start in Cambodia on Saturday morning (AEDT), recording a solid 6-0 win over their hosts in Phnom Penh. From the outset Australia looked well prepared for their Cambo
'These boys are ready': Arnold confident ahead of AFC U-23 qualifiers
Graham Arnold was at the helm the last time an Australian team qualified for the Olympic Games with a squad skippered by Mark Milligan and containing a host of players who would go on to become Caltex Socceroos. Now 11 years on from those 2008 Games, Arnold leads a new crop of
'We have to thank Australia for giving us this opportunity': The magnificent mix of the Caltex Socceroos
Australia is a melting pot, and nothing illustrates that more than the country's national team, the Caltex Socceroos. Harmony Day, held each year on March 21, is Australia’s celebration of cultural diversity.
McGree and Genreau eager to play crucial role on road to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Key Australia U-23s midfielder Riley McGree has declared he and his teammates are ‘ready and acclimatised’ to the stifling conditions in Cambodia, as they embark on qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. Australia face hosts Cambodia on Saturday morning (AEDT) in c