New signing Mitch Austin believes Central Coast Mariners’ hard working culture will suit him after six years in England’s lower leagues. Central Coast Mariners have signed 24-year-old Australian attacker Mitch Austin from English side Cambridge United FC on a two-year deal. While the UK-based team had released Austin on May 6.
Mariners boss Tony Walmsley spotted Austin during his time at Sheffield United and believes his athleticism will hold him in good stead in the Hyundai A-League. Austin, 24, was announced as the Mariners’ second off-season recruit on Monday, after signing with Central Coast last week.
The left-footed 188-centimetre tall winger has endured a frustrating couple of seasons with League Two’s Cambridge, including four loan stints at the likes of Lincoln City and Southport, and he is looking forward to some more stability under Walmsley. The England-born, Sydney-raised midfielder, who can also play left-back, added: “I just didn’t feel like I was getting a proper chance to play at Cambridge.”
While the Mariners boss stated that Austin has been on their radar for several months. “I’ve known Mitch since being in the UK, one of my jobs at Sheffield was to track young Australians,” Walmsley said.
With the Mariners having already revealed Irish journeyman striker Roy O’Donovan as coach Tony Walmsley’s first signing ahead of the 2015-16 campaign, Austin will maintain the Gosford-based side’s reputation as ‘blue-collar’ outfit.
“Mitch has got incredible pace and great athletic ability, he’s six foot one so he immediately contributes some physical requirements we are looking for. He can go down the outside of players, has an excellent cross and gives us genuine width on the left hand side,” claimed Walmsley.
Austin has been handed a one-year contract, with the Mariners retaining an option to extend it for another season if they wish. “He’s done some real hard yards and that helps shape a young player. The A-League is going to be demanding, but it’s going to give him a chance to shine and we believe he can play at a higher level,” Walmsley said.
Following the contract signing, Austin said to the reporters: “What I’ve always been taught, anyway, is as long as you work hard in the games, training good things will eventually end up happening on the pitch. So, yeah, I think the Mariners’ reputation definitely suits me.”
Austin has a strong Australian sporting pedigree, with his father Greg having played rugby league for the Manly Sea Eagles in the late 1980s, as well as numerous clubs in England, before switching to rugby union with the Leicester Tigers amongst others.