Football 1 year ago

Leckie credits Ange for physical form lift

  • Leckie credits Ange for physical form lift

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 29: Mathew Leckie of Australia takes the ball passed the defender during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification match between the Australian Socceroos and Jordan at Allianz Stadium on March 29, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Recently confirmed as the German Bundesliga's fastest player, Socceroos speedster Mathew Leckie credits coach Ange Postecoglou's tutelage for lifting his athleticism to new heights.

Leckie is back in camp in Sydney for the two-match friendly series with Greece, having missed last weekend's 2-1 away loss to England to get married.

The 25-year-old winger is already one of the Socceroos' most experienced faces, on the verge of notching his 30th cap at ANZ Stadium on Saturday or Melbourne's Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

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And no wonder, given Postecoglou describes him as an integral part of his set-up.

"My performances for the national team over the past couple of years since I've been with Ange, I've definitely built as a player," Leckie said.

"The physical aspect of the way we play has definitely put my body in much better form.

"I feel very strong physically.

"The way we play, you need to be very athletic.

"There's a lot of running involved and a lot of hard work.

"That's what I guess Australia is known for - that never-give-up attitude."

Like Postecoglou, Leckie believes his best is still to come.

But evidence of the strides already made was no clearer than in Germany in March, when the Melbourne native was clocked running a season-record 35.18km/h for his side FC Ingolstadt 04.

The promoted club finished their first Bundesliga season in a respectable 11th place and well above the relegation zone despite low expectations.

"I felt I also had a good season - I was fit for most of it and played a lot of games," said Leckie, who scored three goals in 32 league appearances.

"It was definitely a good experience to play at that level. I feel I'm comfortable at that level now."

Part of the reason, he says, is a self-belief Postecoglou has instilled in the national team.

The kind that gave him the confidence to run rampant at Chile in the 2014 World Cup, and the kind he thinks will be a weapon come the final phase of qualifying for Russia 2018.

At club level the winger's solid displays could attract interest from other clubs further up the table.

But Leckie is contracted to Ingolstadt for another two seasons, and wouldn't be sad to stay.

"You never close the door to options, so we'll see what happens over the next month, but I'm not too worried," he said.

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