Mat Leckie admits his impressive start to the season with Hertha Berlin has given him extra confidence ahead of Australia’s World Cup qualification play-off series against Syria.
The Caltex Socceroos flyer joined Hertha Berlin in the off-season from relegated Ingolstadt.
And since his switch he has flourished in an advanced role, netting four goals in seven league appearances.
And with his club side competing in the UEFA Europa League, the continuity of regular football has Leckie primed for Australia’s make-or-break clash with Syria.
“I’m feeling good. Obviously the last month I’ve played a fair few games with Europa League and club football,” Leckie told reporters on Wednesday in Malaysia.
“I’ve got into a rhythm of it. I’ve been fortunate enough not to get any knocks. I’m feeling good.
“With the goals, it’s always better. Even in my past seasons, even though I didn’t score as much I still felt I played very consistent and contributed a lot to the team.
“I feel good. Obviously the couple of goals have given me a bit of confidence.”
While Leckie has shone as an attacker for his club side, the former Adelaide United star has been deployed in a wing-back role with the Socceroos.
But after adapting to his new position during the latter part of Asian group qualifying, Leckie insists he’s more than comfortable with his role for the national team.
“The role is obviously different because it’s a different position. But I’m familiar with both now. I’ve played that position in the national team for a few months now. I’m enjoying both positions,” he said.
“Although I’m playing a more defensive role [with the Socceroos] I’ve scored three goals in the position. There’s more defensive responsibility getting forward in games is important too.
“It always depends on how the game pans out. Some games I’ve had to be more defensive and against Thailand when we dominated the game I pretty much was a right winger.
“It depends on much we’re dominating the game or how much control we have of it. But I’ve played the position for a few months now so it doesn’t faze me to switch positions.”
Conditions in Malaysia for Thursday night’s first-leg against Syria are expected to be upwards of 30C and with almost 80% humidity.
The Socceroos will also face a difficult playing surface on a less than ideal pitch, though Leckie believes it’s nothing the team haven’t encountered before.
“The atmosphere, conditions of the pitch, temperatures – it always plays a part in the away games.
“It will be tough but we’re familiar with it and the mentality in the team is good enough to put that stuff behind us and just concentrate on playing good football.”
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