x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Lucas Neill happy to be both teacher and pupil at Al Jazira

New signing is "very excited by the challenge", but admits he has a lot to learn from his new teammates.

ABU DHABI // Lucas Neill last night said he will have as much to learn from his new Al Jazira teammates as they will from him.

The Australian national team captain, 33, is one the most experienced player to ever join pro-league ranks, as he has played in two World Cups and spent more than a decade in the English Premier League at clubs such as Everton and West Ham.

And while he sees his role in the team as one of teacher, given what he has achieved in his career, he will also rely heavily on the players about what lies ahead of him in UAE football.

"I am very excited by this challenge, and I would think that I will use my experience to teach the players here and help them, although they will also need to help me," said Neill.

"I know the league because I have played against a lot of the guys here at international level. The biggest challenge right now is getting used to the climate.

"But like every player in the world, I want to win, as do my new teammates. This is an ambitious football club and I want to help Al Jazira become a name in Asian football."

Al Jazira also unveiled Abdul Raheem Jumaa and Ali Mohamed Rashid "Allawi", both midfielders who signed from Al Whada and Al Shabab respectively, in the close season.

Phil Anderton, the club's chief executive officer, said: "Lucas has had a great career, playing with some top teams in England, and has won 73 caps, so we are delighted to strengthen the team with a good depth of local players and now, also, Lucas."

The move completes the club's foreign quota, with UAE rules limiting clubs to four foreigners per squad, one of whom must be from the Asian Football Confederation; that player is Neill and he joins trio Matias Delgado, Bare and Ricardo Oliveira.

ncameron@thenational.ae