Leader Leckie puts hand up for Socceroos captaincy

Mathew Leckie prior to a Socceroos match Source: Getty Images

Mathew Leckie has thrown his hat into the ring to skipper Australia when they return to FIFA World Cup qualification action next month.

The Hertha Berlin winger wore the armband 20 months ago, scoring a double as Australia began their Qatar 2022 quest with a 3-0 win over Kuwait in a memorable road trip to the Middle East.

The Socceroos face Kuwait again on June 3 in their Group B clash, ahead of duels against Taiwan, Nepal and Jordan in the Gulf state hub.

And Leckie is in the mix with the likes of Mat Ryan and Trent Sainsbury to lead his team into combat.

“I’ve been captain once against Kuwait and it’s a huge honour to skipper your country,” said Leckie.

“I think the way I behave on and off the pitch is very professional, and I’m at a mature point in my career.

“If I was to be skipper I wouldn’t be your typical captain.

“I’m not the loudest player on the pitch, and usually let my football do the talking.

“If Arnie (coach Graham Arnold) was to give me the captaincy, I would be honoured and would definitely do it.

“Never in my dreams did I think I would captain my own national team, let alone have played so many games for my country (63 caps).

Ryan captained Australia in their last competitive match - the 1-0 win in Jordan in November 2019 - and Leckie recognises there are several credible contenders for the role.

“If I didn’t get it I wouldn’t be upset because we have a lot of players who can be captain,” he explained.

“We have a lot of leaders. Trent’s been around for a long time. There’s Maty Ryan and Aaron Mooy, who are both also very experienced.

“It’s not one of those things where I’d be angry if they got it over me. Not at all.

“We’ll see what happens. I just can’t wait to be back with the squad to be honest.”

Leckie believes group leaders Australia, despite being deprived of games for 18 months due to COVID-19, are perfectly placed to move on to the final phase of qualification without many, if any, hiccups.

“We have a strong mentality and we should be able to get the job done,” he said.

“We have the quality to really push on ... Graham Arnold has widened the net a lot in his work with the Olympic team by giving a lot of young players opportunities.

“The plan is to go to Kuwait with a big squad, maybe 30 or more players, because we have four games in 12 days.

“I think we have the depth. You have the core of the team, players like myself and a few others who’ve been around for a long time.

“But there are new fresh faces as well which is good to see.”

Source SBS The World Game