Maclaren's focus on Asian Cup amid Melbourne City talk


Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren won't discuss rumours he's set for a return to the A-League while he's attempting to fire Australia to AFC Asian Cup glory.

Maclaren is reportedly a target of Melbourne City to replace Bruno Fornaroli.

The Uruguayan has reached an agreement with City to leave the club after being frozen out by coach Warren Joyce since November.

City have apparently approached Maclaren's German second division club SV Darmstadt about taking the 25-year-old on loan.

Maclaren is currently on loan at Scottish Premiership team Hibernian but has struggled for game time this season.

His maiden goal for the Socceroos in an Asian Cup group match against Palestine last week was Maclaren's first since scoring for Hibernian against Aberdeen in August.

Talk of a return to Melbourne 10 years after he left his hometown as a teenager to pursue his football career isn't on the striker's mind however.

Maclaren has emerged as Australia's key forward at the Asian Cup while Andrew Nabbout struggles to shake off a groin complaint and he says rewarding coach Graham Arnold's faith is his primary aim.

"There's always going to be rumours about my situation because coming in here there was talk," Maclaren said from the UAE.

"It's just about focusing on this because it's so important. I'm proud to be here and getting an opportunity under Arnie.

"I'm not going to shift my focus at all."

Centre-back Milos Degenek has already announced a big-money switch from Serbian side Red Star Belgrade to Saudi Arabian powerhouse Al-Hila during the tournament.

Talk is also rife that Eredivisie club NAC Breda are on the verge of signing fullback Alex Gersbach, with Arnold admitting keeping his team focused in a tournament held during the January transfer window is a challenge.

Maclaren and his team-mates got back to training on Friday in Al Ain, after enjoying a day off on Thursday.

A notable face in Friday's session was Mathew Leckie, who completed his first full session since injuring his hamstring before the tournament while playing for his Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin.

Leckie's return to full training is a timely boost for the Socceroos who face Uzbekistan in a round-of-16 clash in Al Ain.

Source AAP