Football 3 years ago

Hughes signs on for City A-League campaign

  • Hughes signs on for City A-League campaign

Melbourne City have bolstered their defensive options by signing Northern Ireland international Aaron Hughes for the new A-League season starting in October.

Hughes, 35, will add the A-League to his long international and English Premier League career after signing a one-year deal with John van `t Schip's side.

Hughes said former Newcastle United teammate Damien Duff, who impressed in his stint with City last season, put the club on his radar.

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"He pretty much said if I didn't do it, he would never speak to me again," Hughes laughed.

"It's a great opportunity to go and try something new ... it was an easy decision in the end to come here and bring my family here as well."

The signing is unlikely to impress fans seeking a big-name glamour signing similar to those enjoyed by sister club New York City FC, such as superstars David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo.

But the Ulsterman, who played with English Championship outfit Brighton and Hove Albion last season, brings experience and versatility to City's defence.

Van `t Schip said Hughes' ability to play in each position across the back four makes him a terrific asset for the coming A-League campaign.

"Aaron is an extremely experienced professional and is an excellent addition to our squad," he said.

"He brings with him a vast amount of Premier League and international experience which will be of great benefit to the team and his qualities will greatly strengthen our defence."

Hughes still features at international level for Northern Ireland, playing most recently last month in a friendly with Qatar.

Northern Ireland, ranked 37 in the world, are on track to qualify for their first European Championship and Hughes suggested he would continue his international commitments.

"We find ourselves in a really good position where we find ourselves in a qualification place," he said.

"We're hoping it's our turn now and we can push and make the Euro ... the confidence in the squad at the moment is huge."

Hughes is City's fifth signing in the off-season and joins Socceroo Ivan Franjic as major defensive acquisitions since their semi-final finish in May.

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