McGree ‘feels good’ after returning to Socceroos starting line-up

Midfielder Riley McGree was handed his first start at this year’s Asian Cup in the Subway Socceroos draw against Uzbekistan.

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He put in a workmanlike performance during his 83 minutes on the pitch at the right side of Australia’s midfield three.

McGree returned to the starting line-up after battling a Plantar fasciitis (heel) injury and he said he feels like he is nearly back at full fitness.

“I feel really good, I've been working really hard to come back and be in the best condition I can,”

“This game is only kind of helping me move on and move forward into the next game, taking it game by game.”

For many Socceroos fans, it was a good sign to see McGree back on the pitch, with the Middlesbrough man providing that all important creative spark to the side going forward.

However, the 25-year-old is still building up to his prolific best and feels he needed to be better in front of goal against Uzbekistan.

“Naturally, I try and be kind of creative and I like to score more and assists more,” he said.

“It's all well and good getting into the positions, but I need to be a little bit more clinical and potentially all of us out there tonight could have been more clinical, but we take the positives, and we move forward.”


Talking of that clinical edge, prior to the play that resulted in a penalty awarded to the Socceroos late in the first-half, McGree utilised his intelligence within the penalty-box, shaking off his marker and setting for a cutback by teammate Kusini Yengi. 

McGree's expectations are such, that despite the quality build-up play and anticipation, the subsequent shot which drifted just wide of the post, is all that the midfielder allows himself to reflect on.

“It's about that clinical edge, that cutting edge in the final third, but I'm very happy that ended up being a penalty and we respect the referee’s decision."

"On another day that goes in for me, but I need to be a little bit more clinical.”

Regardless, Australia have topped Group B and McGree said that was another boxed ticked on the team’s goal of winning the tournament.

“Our aim was to top the group and we have and whoever the opponent is coming up, we're going to have to beat to win this and that's the aim and the goal for us,” he said.

“A lot of positives to take and top of the group and on to the next one.”


Round of 16 opponent to be confirmed following the conclusion of the tournament's group stage.

Every AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 match will be live on Paramount+