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In the lead up to the 2013-14 season, join us as we count down the best 15 players in the A-League, as voted for by Goal and Sportal.com.au journalists and writers

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His coach labelled him the best player in the A-League and Melbourne Victory midfielder Mark Milligan goes close in Goal Australia's reckoning, coming in at fourth on the list.

It was quite the signing by the Victory in January 2012, when they brought the Socceroo home on loan from JEF United.

He signed a three-year deal when that loan expired and the Victory are lucky it was such a long contract as overseas clubs came knocking at the end of last season.

Milligan spent several seasons in Asia with Shanghai Shenhua and JEF United but that move back home looks set to earn him a place in Australia's 2014 World Cup squad in Brazil.

Mark Milligan

 
Club Games Goals
Sydney FC [2005-08]
Newcastle Jets [2008-09]
Melbourne Victory [2012-]
42
11
22
1
1
9

Milligan's versatility and ball-playing abilities, as well as his influence, are what drew coach Ange Postecoglou's eye.

His positioning allows him to break up play in a defensive midfield role and is one of the reasons many want to see him start regularly for the Socceroos.

Milligan has also shown he can play a part in more advanced areas of the park thanks to his passing and he has a powerful shot, which he showcased in a 1-1 draw against Brisbane last season.

He is more than accomplished in the centre of defence but Victory need him in midfield and he is arguably their most important player.

Strengths

Milligan's positioning, flexibility and passing ability are his strengths and, under Postecoglou, he gets the chance to impress. Milligan has become Victory's first-choice penalty taker and their captain. Postecoglou believes the armband is a challenge and will ensure Milligan steps up to another level and, if he is right, he may be topping this list around this time next year.

Defining moment

Milligan had given away a penalty for a clumsy challenge just minutes earlier, but Perth Glory striker Shane Smeltz blasted the spot-kick into the crossbar. On the verge of elimination from last season's finals series, Victory were awarded a controversial penalty and Milligan stepped up – under pressure – to coolly place the penalty into the corner. It took courage to take responsibility and convert in a do-or-die situation, helping Victory to a 2-1 win after extra-time.

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