We asked Mathew Leckie to tell us the first two words that came to mind to describe his style of play... “Speed and power,” was the answer we got.
Perfectly fitting into and complimenting the City style of play, there’s no doubt fans are excited by the prospect of seeing Leckie and his teammates tear up AAMI Park.
The 63-time Socceroo makes his return to the A-League this season, having moved back to his hometown of Melbourne to join City.
By the time Round 1 is here, it will have been a shade under 4,000 days since Leckie last played in the A-League.
In that last A-League outing, his second half strike put Adelaide United in front, although it was Gold Coast United who would eventually advance to the 2011 Preliminary Final.
Now back in not only his home country – but his home city – Leckie will have the opportunity to play professionally in front of his friends and family on a regular basis, something he has never done before.
Australian football fans will be well aware of Leckie’s career to date, which has seen him spend the majority of the last decade playing in the Bundesliga – Germany’s top league and one of Europe’s best.
We’ve seen his quality in the green and gold for years too. He played every minute for the Socceroos in each of the last two World Cup’s and was clocked in the top 15 fastest players in Russia 2018 – named amongst the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling.
Leckie also played a significant role in the 2015 Asian Cup triumph – starting every fixture and scoring against Oman.
His signing was announced in June while the winger was in Socceroos camp - but that didn’t mean things were fully under wraps - as rumours of a potential move floated around in the weeks prior.
“It was kept pretty quiet until the proper announcement came but it seemed like some of the boys had a little inkling,” he said.
“There was a little bit of banter with a few of the guys saying, 'See you next year,' and those kinds of things which is always a good laugh.”
Being home is a bonus for Leckie who has his eyes fully set on helping the team continue on from last season's double winning campaign.
“The expectation on Melbourne City is high and we have high expectations of ourselves, as do the coaches,” he said.
“We want to win it all again and I’ve come here to help the Club do that.”
For City fans, one of the many exciting aspects of a player of Leckie’s quality joining the Club is the front three that will now be on display at AAMI Park.
Like their new teammate, not only are Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout regular Socceroos, all three are all Melbourne born, bred, and raised.
Leckie played his junior football at Bulleen Lions while Maclaren and Nabbout are products of Sunbury United and Brunswick City respectively.
While the front three will likely garner all of the headlines, Socceroos teammate Curtis Good plus Stefan Colakovski and of course Head Coach Patrick Kisnorbo can’t be forgotten as fellow Melburnians.
There is a real ‘Made in Melbourne’ theme building within the squad, something City fans will certainly be getting very excited about.
The front three looks set to thrill City and A-League fans for years to come, with Leckie’s pace, strength, versatility and leadership set to perfectly compliment the style of play Kisnorbo wants to see.
“They're (Maclaren and Nabbout) two great players and there's a reason why they're consistently around the national team," Leckie said.
“To have all three of us at the same Club is exciting but the expectations are high and we know we have to work hard every day to make sure we are getting the results we want.”
With a week of pre-season training now in the books, Leckie was coming from a little way behind the rest of the group having taken some time off after the Socceroos June World Cup Qualifiers, and then also having to quarantine upon his return to Australia.
Although the fitness may still be a work in progress – as it always is at this time of year – Leckie has liked what he has seen from his teammates in this early stage of pre-season.
“There's a bigger pre-season here than there is overseas so I have plenty of time to get myself ready for that first match,” he said, “In terms of on the pitch with the boys; I wouldn't say it's a surprise, but the standard is definitely very high.”
“The league has definitely improved in a variety of ways since I left, and I just can't wait to get out onto AAMI Park in front of the City fans.”
Mathew Leckie is signed up and ready to go for season 2021/22, but are you? Head to citymembership.com.au to secure your seat at AAMI Park as we look to go back-to-back!