• Socceroos flier Mathew Leckie is set to hit the ground running (Getty Images)
In-form Mathew Leckie is aiming to become a goal threat every bit as potent as long time Australia talisman Tim Cahill as he eyes a starting spot for the Socceroos at the FIFA World Cup.
By
David Lewis

Source
The World Game
15 May 2014 - 6:18 PM  UPDATED 15 May 2014 - 6:18 PM

Despite being used primarily as a winger by FSV Frankfurt in Germany’s 2. Bundesliga this season, Leckie – who has now switched to fellow second-tier outfit FC Ingolstadt 04 on a three year deal – weighed in with 10 goals in 31 league appearances.

He has started both of coach Ange Postecoglou’s first two Socceroos games in charge and with boundless energy to go with his eye for goal and the 23-year-old is likely to figure prominently in Brazil, where his pace and precision could be vital in the group games against Chile, Netherlands and Spain.

Leckie is in the mix for starting spots alongside Cahill, J.League stalwart Josh Kennedy and fellow German-based flier Ben Halloran.

He is ready to seize the opportunity in the knowledge that both performances so far under Postecoglou’s watch – the 1-0 win over Costa Rica and 4-3 loss to Ecuador - have won the approval of the coach.

“It’s been a good season for me. I played the first half as a striker and the second as a left winger – and I am happy to play anywhere Ange wants me to for Australia,” said Leckie, who has netted once in six appearances for his country and signed off with a goal in his final game for Frankfurt last weekend.

“I am comfortable in both roles, my fitness is good and I happy with my form. I am keen to show Ange that I am ready for the World Cup.

“I know I have the capacity to go for the full 90 minutes and that’s obviously important at any level.

“I got through the season without any major injuries and I still have a feeling of freshness.”

Leckie believes the Socceroos camp in Gosford and warm-up games against South Africa and Croatia will have Australia match-ready for Chile on 13 June in its World Cup opener.

“I think that time together will be vital to bed in our tactics and work on certain things with Ange,” he added.

“He believes that while the likes of Spain may be more gifted than most, every nation has the capacity to do well and he wants us to express ourselves and not be afraid of anybody.

“While we might set up differently against say Chile as we might Spain, it won’t be a case of us having 10 men behind the ball against either of them.

“It’s going to be a mixture of wanting to play our own game while trying to nullify the effectiveness of the opposition.

“We know it’s going to be tough because we are up against world-class opposition. If we can dig out a result in the first game, it would give us a great springboard.

“We are certainly not going there for an end-of-season holiday. We want to achieve something, create some history and do some things the national team has never done before.”

On his switch from Frankfurt, which flirted with relegation for much of the season, to mid-table Ingolstadt, Leckie explained: “I think Ingolstadt has a little bit more ambition to push to the Bundesliga.

“I had some interest from the first league also (where Leckie had a short spell previously with Borussia Monchengladbach) but there were no real concrete offers – and it’s important for me to be playing.

“So I was happy to join a team with ambition and hopefully go up with them. They are a big club, great facilities and they have big plans. I am looking forward to it.

 “But the World Cup is all I am really thinking about right now.”