Socceroos great Mathew Leckie hoping for World Cup selection

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Socceroos veteran Mathew Leckie isn’t making the mistake of taking 2022 World Cup selection for granted.

At 31, the Melbourne City attacker is among a host of Socceroos on “trial” during Australia’s two-match series against New Zealand which starts on Thursday night at Suncorp Stadium.

Leckie, who has been capped on 71 occasions, is vying to go to the World Cup for a third time, and his versatility in attack should favour him in his bid to be included in Australia’s 26-man squad.

However, the former Borussia Monchengladbach and Hertha Berlin winger knows he must perform against the All Whites and when the A-League season kicks off next month.

“I’m not taking anything for granted; there are no guarantees,” Leckie said.

“For me, it’s important to stay healthy, stay fit and be playing well.

“There are some fresh faces who want to show what they do and give themselves every chance to make that final (World Cup) squad.

“It’s a good mix … a lot of hungry players (and) a lot of motivated players that are at different stages in their career.

“I’m always hungry. I’ve been in the set-up for a while now, but I’m still feeling very fit.”

The staggered arrival of players in camp in Brisbane this week has Leckie unsure which 11 Socceroos coach Graham Arnold will start with on Thursday night.

However, Leckie is bound to get game time in the series, which concludes in Auckland on Sunday.

“I’m sure we’ll see a lot of faces in both games” he said.

Leckie has made six appearances across two World Cup finals tournaments and is still chasing his first win.

“We want to make a mark in the (2022) World Cup and try to get out of the group,” he said.

“If we can pick up some good results there and get a win, it would be massive.”

He said it was a “bit strange” for the Socceroos to have France and Denmark in their group for a second World Cup in succession.

France beat Australia 2-1 four years ago in Russia, but the Socceroos held the Danes to a 1-1 draw.

“Four years is a long time in football; our side’s changed a lot and I’m sure France and Denmark have as well,” Leckie said

“There’s no real advantage.”

Leckie enjoyed the chance on Tuesday to visit a host of juniors from the flood-affected Mitchelton Football Club.

“It’s good to get out in the community, show our faces, and I’m sure there’s a lot of excited and happy kids here today,” he said.

Originally published as Socceroos stalwart Mathew Leckie preparing for World Cup selection battle


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