Huge opportunity for Maclaren against Thailand
JAMIE Maclaren will not have a better chance to prove he is the man to lead the Socceroos' attack when Ange Postecoglou's men take on Thailand in a World Cup qualifier in Bangkok tomorrow.
With Tim Cahill left out of the squad and Tomi Juric not available through injury, the Brisbane Roar frontman has the ideal opportunity to stake his claim as No.1 striker.
Maclaren's only other game for his country was in a friendly against England in May.
He could not be coming back into the squad at a better time.
Thailand is quite clearly the worst team in the group and the game presents a chance for Maclaren to really dine out.
There are other options for Postecoglou in Nathan Burns, Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse, but none of them are what you would call specialist centre forwards.
Apo Giannou was the one called up for Juric but you would expect Maclaren will get the nod over the Chinese-based striker.
Maclaren, who scored 20 goals in the A-League last season to finish runner-up to Bruno Fornaroli in the Golden Boot, could not be in better form.
He had a slow start to the season but two goals in as many games proves he is in good form and hopefully he can continue that against Thailand.
"I'm ready, I'm full of confidence, but we all have one objective and that's to qualify for the World Cup, so whoever plays will do a job,” the Roar striker said last week.
"I'm going to work hard all week (in camp) and hopefully I can contribute to this Socceroos squad.”
Maclaren needs to do more than contribute, he needs to be the star man if selected to give Postecoglou something to think about when Cahill and Juric do return to the squad.
There is no doubt the former Perth Glory striker has the talent to shine at the highest level but if he doesn't take his opportunities then he could be left on the outer when the coach picks squads for tougher games ahead.
Now is Maclaren's chance to shine.