Mariners snap up Slater, Roux

Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold has lured promising youngsters Tom Slater and Storm Roux to Gosford as the champions prepare to defend their A-League title

Teenager Tom Slater has ignored interest from abroad to sign a three-year deal with A-League champions Central Coast.

The son of former Socceroo Robbie has penned his first professional contract at 16 after playing for Sydney FC's youth league side last season.

According to Mariners group general manager Peter Turnbull, 16-year-old Tom had attracted interest from 'a leading French club'.

New Zealand Under-20s right-back Storm Roux has joined the Mariners on a two-year deal.

Slater, a left winger, said he opted to play under Graham Arnold after seeing the former Socceroos coach give youngsters a chance.

"Hopefully if I train well I'll get a shot," Slater said.

"I can see that he's (Arnold) done that with young players before."

Arnold, a good friend of Robbie's, said he had been impressed by Tom, who was also wanted by the Sky Blues.

"It's about getting some good young players in and giving the opportunity to young players," Arnold said.

"I watched him (Roux) play against the Australia under-20 side down in Wollongong and he was excellent.

"Young Tommy comes in from Sydney FC. Sydney were interested in offering him a deal, but luckily we got him up here.

"It's a good opportunity to develop him, educate him, and hopefully he'll end up a good product.

"Obviously Tom is the son of Robbie Slater, who is my good mate. I went and watched Tom on numerous occasions without his father around to make sure he has the qualities, and he does have the qualities."

Roux played in all three of New Zealand's group matches at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey and will not take up a foreigner spot as he holds Australian citizenship.

The South Africa-born 20-year-old made his A-League debut for Perth Glory last season and said he is thrilled to be joining the Mariners.

"I got a big confidence boost when I found out a big Club like the Mariners and a coach like Graham Arnold wanted me," Roux said.

"I am obviously very excited to be joining the Champions. I'm aiming to establish myself as an A-League player during my time at the Club."

The additions are crucial for Central Coast, who have lost the likes of Mat Ryan, Bernie Ibini and Oliver Bozanic in the off-season, but added Argentine attacker Marcos Flores and recaptured former striker Matt Simon.

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