Graham Arnold defends shot-shy Jamie Maclaren

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The Socceroos are searching for a striker, but has Maclaren missed his chance to impress?

Despite failing to go close to a first Socceroos goal against Korea Republic, Jamie Maclaren's performance leading the line has been praised by Graham Arnold. 

In his third senior start for Australia and seventh appearance overall, the 25-year-old struggled to carve out any clear chances as his wait for a first goal in the green and gold continued.

Maclaren has now played 295 minutes for the Socceroos and is yet to issue a shot on target while spraying three efforts wide. 

Despite that barren start to his international career, Arnold has backed Maclaren to deliver and stressed how impressed he was by his performance on Saturday.

"He did a fantastic job, he worked extremely hard for the team,” Arnold said.

"You might say he didn’t touch the ball much, but if you look what he did - pressing the opposition, putting the opposition under pressure - he was our first line of defence.

"Then it’s his clever movement and when you have movement like Jamie does, then it’s about the other players knowing when to give him the ball when he needs the ball."

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Admittedly still gelling with his national teammates, Maclaren has the likes of Tomi Juric and Andrew Nabbout breathing down his neck for a spot leading the Socceroos attack heading into the Asian Cup.

Tuesday's game against Lebanon should present a number of goal-scoring chances for Australia and the player that's able to take them might just seal their spot up front. 

Arnold has hinted at a number of changes to his starting side in Sydney with Maclaren no doubt hoping he'll be spared and get another chance to push his case to be the Socceroos go-to striker. 

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