x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Lucas Neill latest acquisition by Al Wasl

The Australia captain is the third signing for the Dubai Pro League side since the appointment of Bruno Metsu as manager.

Lucas Neill, who made 19 appearances for the Abu Dhabi-based Al Jazira, will move to Dubai to play for Al Wasl. Mike Young / The National?
Lucas Neill, who made 19 appearances for the Abu Dhabi-based Al Jazira, will move to Dubai to play for Al Wasl. Mike Young / The National?

DUBAI // Al Wasl have signed Lucas Neill, captain of the Australian national team, as coach Bruno Metsu continues to rebuild the side he inherited from Diego Maradona.

The Frenchman, who last month replaced Maradona at the Zabeel Stadium, has already recruited on one-year loan deals Mahmoud Abdel Razek Shikabala, the Egyptian midfielder, and Faisal Khalil, a member of the UAE's 2007 Gulf Cup-winning team.

Neill returns to the Pro League following last season's stint at Al Jazira – he made 19 appearances for the Abu Dhabi club – and will this evening join his new teammates at Wasl's pre-season training camp in Germany. The former Blackburn Rovers, Everton and Galatasaray centre-back, 34, replaces Mohamed Al Shaibah as the club's Asian player, with the Omani defender to be released.

"Neill has the international experience necessary to be a success and has experience of the league through his time here last season," said Ismail Rashid, the former Wasl captain who now acts as first-team supervisor, from the camp.

"He is still at the top of his game physically and technically, and, as captain of his country, is a key member of the Australia squad. He has experience of the English Premier League, too, which when you put everything together ensures he adds to the team the level of quality we desire."

Of Al Shaibah's impending departure, Rashid added: "He is a good player who possesses very good technical qualities, but the coaching staff were looking for certain attributes in a foreign defender and found those in Lucas Neill.

"The relationship between Wasl and Al Shaibah remains a good one; the circumstances simply did not enable him to participate with the team regularly in official matches."

Wasl are expected to complete their foreign quota with the signing of Emmanuel Clottey, the Ghanaian striker at Berekum Chelsea, with negotiations believed to be at an advanced stage.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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