Adam Le Fondre's opinion on the A-League has helped convince former Championship midfielder Jem Karacan to sign with the Central Coast Mariners.
The 29-year-old departed Millwall on January 15 and has now signed a deal with the Australian club until the end of the A-League season.
Karacan is still good friends with Le Fondre, having played with him at Reading and Bolton, and says conversations with the Sydney FC striker were a strong reason why he has come Down Under.
"Obviously speaking to Alfie [Le Fondre] a lot, he’s spoke good things about the league and he’s always said about coming over here and that I would enjoy it," Karacan said.
"We always stay in touch and I had interest from Central Coast in the [English] summer so I learned about the club then."
Former Socceroos Adam Federici and Oliver Bozanic also played with Karacan at Reading and spoke highly of the A-League and the environment at Central Coast.
"Other people I spoke to were Adam Federici – he knows the area quite well and said it would be great for myself and my wife," Karacan said.
"I know Oli Bozanic - I spoke to him a couple of days ago - and he said the same thing .
"I’ve only been hearing great things about the place and club."
Karacan played for Reading in their 2012-13 Premier League campaign - scoring one goal across 21 appearances.
He describes himself as a box-to-box midfielder and believes his leadership qualities - having captained the Royals and Bolton - will be an asset for the Mariners.
"I’m a leader – hopefully I can show the lads on-and-off the pitch to be a good professional and keeping my standards high and just trying to lead by example really," Karacan said.
"I’m only 29 – I have got a lot of years left in football and I’m hopeful that, given the opportunity here, I can shine and do everything I can to help the club."
And despite his friendship with Le Fondre, Karacan cheekily said it's unlikely pleasantries will be exchanged on the field when the Mariners take on the Sky Blues on February 17.
"We’re friends off the pitch but he’ll know I’ll be coming after him on the pitch," he said with a smile.