Elis to bring explosive speed against Roos

Nov 14, 2017 - 4:35 PM When Ange Postecoglou decides who to deploy on Australia's left flank against Honduras, it will be with one particular opponent in mind.

Nimble young winger Alberth Elis is back from suspension for Wednesday night's all-deciding second play-off leg and brings supersonic speed to match the attacking prowess that gained global attention at last year's Rio Olympics.

The 21-year-old Houston Dynamo man, widely considered one of Central America's best up-and-coming talents, will be fresh and out to skin whoever starts at left wing-back for Australia.

Aziz Behich got the nod in San Pedro Sula and repaid Postecoglou's faith with a first-rate display getting up and down, his crossing the only weak point of an otherwise exemplary 90-minute shift.

The other more-than-capable option is Alex Gersbach who, having sat out the weekend's stalemate, can pick up where he left off after his solid showing in Australia's final group match against Thailand.

Whoever it is, Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto warned Elis had the capacity to rock the Socceroos' defence.

"Elis has explosive speed that we can use for the second game," Pinto said.

"He shone at the 2016 Olympics. He's a young player, he's consolidating.

"He can break the lines and make a difference."

Also back from suspension is skipper Maynor Figueroa, a veteran defender with nearly 150 caps and two World Cups under his belt.

As Pinto put it, the former Wigan Athletic mainstay "projects confidence and security" and provides experience to compliment the team's youth.

Should Figueroa get the green light it could pit the 34-year-old against an old-time English Premier League antagonist in Tim Cahill - if the 37-year-old also gets on the pitch.

Interestingly, Pinto named Socceroos wingman Mathew Leckie as Australia's most vital player.

The Hertha Berlin flyer is a near-certain starter after watching the first leg from Melbourne due to a combination of suspension and a hamstring strain.

"I've seen a lot of videos of the Australian team," Pinto said.

"The defence is very organised, whether they choose to play a back five we'll see.

"Australia attack a lot on the sides and Leckie is the most important player to this specific scheme.

"The game is going to have a lot of open spaces, so we'll have to wait and see who takes advantage of that."

Source: AAP

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