Former Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak has returned to former club Aston Villa – but as a coach, not a player. The veteran midfielder spent three seasons with Villa before departing at the end of last season, having guided the side to promotion into the Premier League. Jedinak had hoped to play on in England, but failed to find a side for this season.
Now 35, the former Socceroos stalwart has taken on a coaching gig at the club’s youth academy – but it is unclear if Jedinak has called time on his playing career. A photo shared by 17-year-old Paul Appiah – a former Chelsea central defender – showed the Aussie veteran giving the youngster instructions on the training pitch. Appiah apparently told fans in an online Q&A that Jedinak “is a coach now.”
The club swapped under-18 coaches earlier in March, with former Villa midfielder George Boateng taking the reins – and apparently calling on Jedinak to help out. Jedinak had been pursued by A-League expansion side Macarthur FC, with the club hoping to make Camperdown-born star their inaugural captain. Macarthur is set to join the competition next season, though it is unclear whether the coronavirus outbreak will impact their entry into the league. After pursuing Jedinak for a year, the club announced Central Coast Mariners attacker Tommy Oar – a fellow ex-Socceroo who regularly featured alongside Jedinak – as its first player signing. The club will be coached by Ante Milicic, whose contract in charge of the Matildas was set to expire at the end of the Olympics – which has now been delayed until 2021.