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COMMENT: Should Adelaide United's Leckie try his luck in Europe?

Adelaide United young gun Mathew Leckie has a big decision ahead of him regarding his future. The 19-year old could be regarded as a bolter in the sport with his unorthodox path into football which begun when he was 11 in the Victorian suburb of Sunshine.

Fast forward eight years and the promising attacker is attracting interest from the home of world football, Europe.

His pace, strength and pure ability have been the assets which have helped him grow into one of the most talented young players in Australia but the fact that he has only been in the game at a professional level for less than four years indicates he probably should remain at home until he improves further.

Take a look at Brett Emerton. The Blackburn Rovers midfielder remained with Sydney Olympic until he was about 21 before moving to Holland where he played in the Champions League with Feyenoord after being a part of the 2001/02 UEFA Cup-winning squad.

Emerton waited at home until he was a more adequate player and the maturity factor also stepped in which ultimately helped him find his way to the English Premier League where he has become one of Australia's greatest exports.

Leckie has the ability and style of play to make it in the world's best leagues but perhaps he should stick around and develop his game before taking on the best.

One man who believes he should try his luck overseas is Reds coach Rini Coolen who has identified his own homeland as a good starting point for Leckie.

"Mathew can go anywhere but I think Holland is a real good next step for him," Coolen told the Adelaide Advertiser. "It would be fantastic, if he does go overseas, for it to be Holland.

"This season he stays in Australia and we will find out if he is ready for the next step. He is definitely one of the fastest and most powerful young players I have seen."

That is all well and good but he will not get better if given five minutes here and ten minutes there in a foreign environment like many young Australian players before him have experienced.

Leckie needs to stay with Adelaide until he is performing at a consistently brilliant level so when he does make the quantum leap to European football, he is ready to mix it with the best.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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