Milligan lands deal with English club in bid to prolong Socceroos career


Socceroos captain Mark Milligan has found a new home, with his formal unveiling at a lower tier club in England imminent.

Milligan - who turns 34 in August - was surprisingly released by Scottish Premier League Hibernian in May after an impressive season which saw him make 31 appearances.

Staying in Europe has remained his preference as he continues to figure prominently in the plans of Socceroos coach Graham Arnold.

He almost joined League One Bolton Wanderers in 2017 - who were then in the Championship - only for the English FA’s eligibility rules to thwart the issuing of a work permit.

Then Hibs boss Neil Lennon subsequently stepped in to take him to Edinburgh where Milligan flourished in a side which also included Melbourne City striker Jamie Maclaren and naturalized Australian winger Martin Boyle, who continues to fly the flag at Easter Road.

With 79 caps, Milligan represents an important link between the present and future in the national team, with his leadership qualities and ability to set an example to an emerging cascade of youngsters considered crucial to their development.

He was hugely unfortunate to have been let go by Hibernian, who had the option for a second season, with new coach Paul Heckingbottom admitting at the time: “It was a killer for me.”

"That's one of the two things I've done when I've been managing that hurt. It's tough sometimes,” added Heckingbottom who succeeded Neil Lennon in February.

"You make decisions and people say it's part of the game and it is, but he's a real good bloke and he's done great for me.

"Sometimes it's easy if you sit someone down and tell them why they can't be in your team as a footballer or as a person. He's done great but you have to trust your gut and that's what I've done with.

"But it was tough that one. It was tricky."

The former Melbourne Victory skipper took the decision on the chin and has now been rewarded with a second lease of life in the UK.

Milligan was rested by Arnold, along with a number of senior Socceroos, for the recent 1-0 friendly loss to Korea Republic.

His agent Buddy Farah could not be contacted for comment.