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Maclaren off the mark for Socceroos

The roar of relief said it all when Jamie Maclaren finally ended his long wait for a Socceroos goal, a drought he admits was getting to him.

Maclaren off the mark for Socceroos

The roar of relief said it all when Jamie Maclaren finally ended his long wait for a Socceroos goal, a drought he admits was getting to him.

JAMIE MACLAREN of Australia controls the ball during the Australian Socceroos Training Session at the Gloria Football Club in Antalya, Turkey.
JAMIE MACLAREN of Australia controls the ball during the Australian Socceroos Training Session at the Gloria Football Club in Antalya, Turkey. Picture:Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

When Jamie Maclaren's clever header found its way into the bottom corner of Palestine's net early in Australia's Asian Cup clash with Palestine a pressure valve was released.

Not just for the Socceroos, who rushed to celebrate with the striker - goalkeeper Mat Ryan included - but also for the scorer.


Maclaren, so prolific at club level, was making his 10th appearance almost three years after his debut in May 2016.

The 26-year-old hadn't scored in that time, however, and by his own admission it was a wait which was playing on his mind.

"I've been the most consistent scorer at club level for Australian strikers for the last three years," Maclaren said.

"It just hasn't happened for the national team, but now it has and it's time for me to step up and kick on.

"At club level I'm really content with my goals-to-game ratio but at national team level it starts to get to you.

"When you've got a great bunch of boys around you I knew it was going to come."

Maclaren's goal ends any comparison between he and former Socceroos forward Scott McDonald.

Despite a prolific career at club level, McDonald failed to find the back of the net once in his 26 Socceroos appearances.

With the goal-scoring monkey off his back, Maclaren will now be aiming to keep his place in Graham Arnold's starting XI for Tuesday's final group game against Syria in Al Ain.

Andrew Nabbout is expected to be fit from the groin strain which has kept him sidelined for the first two matches while Apostolos Giannou also gave Arnold food for thought when he came off the bench and scored the third in Australia's 3-0 win over Palestine.

"I love Jamie as a player. His movement in the box is always very, very good. He's just needed a bit of belief, he's needed confidence," Arnold said.

"For Jamie and also for Apo to come on and score the way he did, it's very promising.

"When you have competition for places it creates a very competitive environment and one that pushes players to another level."

AAP


AAP




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