Leeds United: Kilkenny 'can supply X-factor to the Socceroos'

Neil Kilkenny's international recall will bring "X-factor" to the Australian squad, according to former Birmingham City team-mate Stan Lazaridis.

The United midfielder ended a two-and-a-half year exile from Australia's plans this week when he was named in their 23-man pool for the forthcoming Asian Cup in Qatar.

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His selection is a serious blow to Leeds United, who will lose the services of a key midfielder for up to a month after Saturday's Championship game against Middlesbrough, but his inclusion by Socceroos coach Holger Osieck was a reward for his consistent domestic form.

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Former Australian international Lazaridis played with Kilkenny between 2005 and 2006 while both men were on the books at St Andrews and the retired defender said the Socceroos would benefit from Kilkenny's "real good footballing brain" as they bid to lift the Asian Cup on January 29.

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"I was pleased to see his name in there," said Lazaridis. "He's a very skilful, delicate type of player and has a good footballing brain.

"He will add something a bit different and could be a bit of an X-factor."

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Kilkenny's impending departure from England is set to delay a decision over his long-term future at Elland Road.

The 25-year-old is six months away from the end of his existing contract with Leeds and negotiations with the club have failed to yield a deal over an extension to his terms.

Speaking last week, Kilkenny said: "I really want to stay here and feel honoured to play for the club.

"I want to let that be known. I've enjoyed my time here and feel that I've played regularly over the past three years.

"I've made nearly 150 appearances for the club and that's a very good record over three seasons.

"Hopefully the club can sort something out."

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