Central Coast Mariners have signed Oliver Bozanic as their U23 Marquee Player for the next two A-league seasons.
Bozanic returns to the club where he made his professional debut after a three year stint in the UK with Reading.
“Oliver embodies many of the values this club believes in, it’s a classic case of the local boy done good, but he realises there is still a way to go in his football career, and we are very much looking forward to helping him develop even further,” said Mariners Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman.
“On and off the field, Oliver has developed considerably during his time in the UK, and we believe his acquisition will be a huge positive for the Mariners going forward.”
The 21-year-old received full Socceroo honours in a 3-nil friendly victory over the Republic of Ireland last October, and returns to his first professional club with vast experience gained from his time in the UK.
Injury robbed Bozanic of his place at the U20 World Cup in Egypt after starring throughout qualification, however he should remain firmly in the sights of those within the national teams structure, as preparations continue for the Olyroos qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“Oliver is another ‘Aussie Abroad’ who has been kept under close observation by the FFA’s network of scouts, technical director Han Berger and (Socceroos head coach) Pim (Verbeek),” said Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold.
“I have seen him play personally not only within the National Team environment but also various times in the UK including at a very high level at Reading, and he adapted so easily to the standard required of a Socceroo when he came into the senior team.
“Playing at the level he has been over the last couple of years will be massive for him returning to the A-League, and the fact that he’s a local boy makes it an even better fit. This club is determined to get back to the grassroots of the Central Coast, and players like Oliver obviously already have a great connection with that already.
“Most importantly Oliver will provide plenty of spark in attack, he’s very good on the ball, has good speed and will be dangerous out wide.
“The squad I had mapped out in my head is beginning to take shape, and over the next few weeks I’m looking forward to it getting closer to completion,” said Arnold.
After almost four years overseas, Bozanic says he’s excited to be heading home.
“I’m really excited about the plans the Mariners have for the future. I spoke to Lyall and Arnie on a few occasions and have been really impressed with where they want the club to go.
“The A-League has obviously really improved too and I’m looking forward to playing my football there.
“When the Mariners first got in touch with me I was pretty excited about the idea of coming home.
“It’s still only early days in my career, and hopefully this can help me go a long way,” said Bozanic.
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