Tim Cahill to captain Australia against Greece


Coach Ange Postecoglou will ring more changes for the Socceroos’ second friendly with Greece, with Tim Cahill taking the captain’s armband and young defender Alex Gersbach a chance to start.

The Socceroos arrived in Melbourne on Sunday night, leaving enough time for just one training session before Tuesday’s clash at Etihad Stadium.

“This one’s a quicker turnaround than usual,” Postecoglou said.

“There’s a day or two less than the normal break, which we factored in when we selected the squad.

“So we’ll make some changes tomorrow night, but again they’re changes designed to maximise performance. It’s not about just giving everyone a go or compromising competitiveness, we’ll put out a line-up tomorrow night that we think will give us the best chance of success.”

Ninety-cap veteran Cahill will take on captain duties in the absence of Mile Jedinak, who’s been released from camp for personal reasons.

But Postecoglou wouldn’t confirm whether or not he’ll start or come off the bench, reserving a decision until after Monday evening’s familiarisation session at Etihad.

The coach was also coy on some of his other youngsters, but signalled that Ross County midfielder Jackson Irvine will get game time.

Another contender is 19-year-old Rosenborg left-back Gersbach, who notched an assist on international debut on Saturday night when he set up Mathew Leckie’s last-gasp match-winner in the first hitout with Greece at ANZ Stadium.

“He came on and did well, and if things work out he’ll get an opportunity tomorrow night,” Postecoglou said.

“Whether we start with him or he comes on we’ll see.

“He’s still a young guy finding his feet.’’

“But there’s every chance he’ll start …. if tomorrow night is Alex’s night I’m sure he’ll be up for that.

“We’ll have a look at the team and give them a run tonight and see how everyone is.

“We go out there tomorrow night with a strong performance in mind, we want to dominate possession.”

Meanwhile, Socceroos winger Matthew Leckie is optimistic the floodgates are about to open after scoring his first goal in his 30th international game.

Leckie’s winner against Greece on Saturday night was worth the wait – a pivot at the top of the box and a bullet in the last second of play to decide the friendly 1-0.

“It’s been a while,” he said.

The last time Leckie netted for Australia was in last September’s 5-0 World Cup qualifying rout of Bangladesh.

Before that was in 2013 against Canada.

It’s not something that appears to overly bother Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou, who recently described the FC Ingolstadt flyer as an integral part of his set-up.

But the man recently confirmed as the fastest in the German Bundesliga hopes his latest effort will keep any external critics quiet – and unlock the key to more goals.

“Obviously it’s not good to hear (criticism), but I know I need to score more goals,” Leckie said.

“Hopefully it will keep people quiet for a bit, but I’m hoping it doesn’t take that long to score again.

“I’ll work hard to continue playing well, and if I can score more I’m happy and everyone else is too.”

Leckie was glad his run off the bench was only half an hour, revealing he wouldn’t have lasted much longer than that having not trained much since the end of the Bundesliga season.

But he’d relish a start in Tuesday night’s second friendly in his home city of Melbourne, where he’s only played once for the Socceroos in last year’s Asian Cup tie against Kuwait.

“Obviously I’d like to start because it’s Melbourne and I’d like to get some good minutes in,” Leckie said.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll get a good crowd, there’s a lot of people who have a Greek background here so hopefully there’s a good crowd and a good atmosphere.


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