Sport Football Mark Milligan ready for ‘great challenge’ of leading the Socceroos into the Asian Cup

Mark Milligan ready for ‘great challenge’ of leading the Socceroos into the Asian Cup

Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan demonstrates the style that earned him the post of the Socceroos' skipper. Photo: Getty
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Veteran defender Mark Milligan will lead the Socceroos in next year’s Asian Cup after being named as the national team’s new captain.

The 33-year-old was confirmed as the replacement for retired midfielder Mile Jedinak by coach Graham Arnold on Saturday.

Milligan will lead the team in Saturday’s friendly against South Korea in Brisbane as well as Tuesday’s clash with Lebanon in Sydney.

Milligan will also be captain when Australia defend their Asian Cup title in the United Arab Emirates, starting in January.

“We have had many great leaders over the years, who I both played alongside and admired as I grew up watching the national team. It is a huge honour to be joining them,” Milligan said.

“We have a great challenge ahead of us at the AFC Asian Cup but we will travel to the UAE in the knowledge that we are well prepared.

“We have some exciting new players in the squad as well as some players who have been around the national team for a long time, which provides a good balance.”

Arnold had been weighing up several options for the captaincy after Jedinak’s retirement after this year’s World Cup.

Milligan led the team in last month’s friendly against Kuwait but defender Trent Sainsbury, goalkeeper Mathew Ryan and wingers Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse were also thought to be in the mix for the role.

“Mark has been a part of the national team for 12 years now,” Arnold said.

“His leadership on and off the park shines through every day.”
Milligan is a two-time A-League championship winner after spells with Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory and is currently plying his trade with Scottish Premiership club Hibernian. -AAP


Club: Hibernian (Scotland)
Age: 33
Position: Defender/midfielder
Caps: 72
Member of the 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cup squads