Socceroos capt Milligan signs for Southend

Australia captain Mark Milligan has joined English third-tier side Southend United on a one-year deal.

MARK MILLIGAN of Australia attempts to stop ALEXIS SANCHEZ of Chile from scoring during the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 match between Chile and Australia at Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia.
MARK MILLIGAN of Australia attempts to stop ALEXIS SANCHEZ of Chile from scoring during the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 match between Chile and Australia at Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia. Picture: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Socceroos skipper Mark Milligan has joined English third-tier outfit Southend United.

The 33-year-old midfielder left Scottish Premiership club side Hibernian in May and has been recruited by the League One club on an initial one-year deal, plus an option for a further year.

"I'm very excited. It's always a process but to be down here now I can't wait to get started," said Milligan, capped 79 times by Australia and who featured at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups .

"I met with (coach) Kevin Bond and he was wonderful, as was the Chairman Ron Martin. My agent has worked closely with the Chairman in getting this exciting project across the line.

"Everything they've done for me so far has been outstanding and is a massive part of why I signed.

"The way that they went about things and how it's all happened since has been very professional and it makes me excited.

"The competitiveness of games at this level with sometimes three games a week, along with the ambition of getting the club back to the Championship, was also an important part in my decision."

An announcement from the Essex coast club on Tuesday said the intention was for Milligan to stay on in a coaching role after his playing stint, either with the youth academy or with the first team.

His deal is subject to international clearance.

Milligan, who played 30 games for Hibs during his spell in Scotland, said he was hoping to bring his experience to Southend.

"I've been fortunate enough to play a lot of games internationally and at some major tournaments as well so one thing that I will bring is experience, on and off the pitch, which can sometimes be hard to come by," he added.

"I'm able to play in a few positions but from all our conversations I'm viewed as more of a defensive midfielder which suits me fine. That's where I've played the majority of my career.

"I like a challenge and this next step for me is a new challenge which I can't wait to get started."


AAP