Leckie 'touch and go' for Socceroos return against Uzbekistan


Socceroos winger Mathew Leckie is 'touch and go' to return from his hamstring injury in Australia's AFC Asian Cup round-of-16 match against Uzbekistan.

The 27-year-old is yet to feature in Australia's Asian Cup defence after tearing his hamstring while playing for German club Hertha Berlin before the tournament.

Head coach Graham Arnold opted to keep Leckie in his 23-man squad on the basis he would return to fitness at some point after the group stages.

Assistant coach Rene Meulensteen believes the knockout clash with Uzbekistan in Al Ain could be too risky for the experienced forward however.

"He's touch and go, I'm not sure whether he's fine for this game because we want to eliminate every risk," Meulensteen said.

"He feels he's confident stepping over that line and going ... we want them to stay there for all the rest of the games, not just one.

"The worst thing you can do is think 'yep, great, off he goes' and boom, all the work is for nothing."

Whether he features against Uzbekistan or not, Meulensteen has praised Leckie's influence and experience around the squad throughout the tournament.

"Positive guy, keeps talking to players, he's always got a smile on his face," the former Fulham manager said.

"He needs a haircut though."

Source AAP