[close]

Winger Leckie given Asian Cup all clear

Socceroos winger Mat Leckie will be a part of Australia's Asian Cup defence despite an ongoing hamstring issue

Winger Leckie given Asian Cup all clear

Socceroos winger Mat Leckie will be a part of Australia's Asian Cup defence despite an ongoing hamstring issue

MATTHEW LECKIE of Australia celebrates scoring a goal between the Australian Socceroos and Lebanon at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia.
MATTHEW LECKIE of Australia celebrates scoring a goal between the Australian Socceroos and Lebanon at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia. Picture:Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

Experienced winger Mat Leckie has been given the all-clear to remain with Australia's Asian Cup squad.

The 27-year-old has been battling a hamstring injury suffered on club duty for Hertha Berlin in Germany last month before joining the Socceroos camp in the United Arab Emirates.


Coach Graham Arnold confirmed on Friday evening Leckie's recovery is progressing well enough that he'll remain with the team despite being unlikely to feature until the knockout stages.

"We are working really hard with the training sessions, taking it step by step, not rushing things, and so far the progress has been great," Leckie said.

"I haven't really torn a muscle like this in my hamstring, at least this bad, before. So, the process is all new to me."

Arnold waiting until the last minute to make a call on Leckie after Aaron Mooy, Daniel Arzani and Martin Boyle had all previously been ruled out through injury.

Boyle's omission following a knee injury picked up in last weekend's pre-Asian Cup friendly against Oman in Dubai potentially aided Leckie given both are similar players.

Arnold has until six hours before the kick-off of Sunday's tournament opener against Jordan in Al Ain to bring in replacement players to his squad.

Leckie said his focus now is on building up his training ahead of a likely return to action in the latter stages of the tournament.

"We are up to a pretty good (running) speed now, 25 kilometres an hour, a few run throughs and change of direction," he said.

"It is just taking it day-by-day and stepping it up with sharper exercises, more speed."

With Leckie sidelined for now, Arnold admits he faces a selection dilemma with Awer Mabil and Chris Ikonomidis both pushing for a start against Jordan.

Ikonomidis has been in stellar form for Perth Glory this season and scored in last weekend's pre-Asian Cup friendly against Oman in Dubai.

"He's giving me a headache," Arnold said.

"I've got about six of them. I need either six beers or six Panadol."

Australia will get their first look at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium with a training session at the venue on Saturday afternoon ahead of Sunday's opener.

AAP


AAP




Latest Stories