Duke vows to lead by example after signing with Wanderers

Mitchell Duke believes his Japanese experience has improved his game and has expressed his desire to be a leader after signing for Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday.

Duke, who previously played with Central Coast Mariners in the Hyundai A-League, signed an 18-month deal with the Wanderers.

PREVIEWRoar v Wanderers
SQUADS: All the ins and outs for Round 16
WATCH FOR FREE: How to watch the Hyundai A-League LIVE and FREE

He has spent the last four years playing in Japan with Shimizu S-Pulse, playing over 100 games for the club.

“The J-League is the top league in Asia, probably the best, and spending the last four years over there I was proud I could achieve that,” Duke told the Wanderers’ official website.

“Some players go there and don’t last long, so I was proud to get over 100 appearances at the club in Japan because it’s hard to do.

“I gained a lot of experiences over there, I experienced promotion and relegation and that helped me grow.

“On the technical side of things, Japan is the best, so I’ve grown a lot as a player and my mental toughness has improved a lot.

"I feel like now that I’m 28, I want to be a leader at the club and I want to help lead and teach the young boys so as to help them grow as footballers.”

Mitch Duke in action for the Socceroos.

Joining the Wanderers is something of a homecoming for Duke, who was born and raised in Liverpool in the heart of Western Sydney.

Duke began his career at Liverpool Rangers before progressing through the Central Coast Mariners Youth Academy.

Following a short stint with Blacktown City, Duke signed his first senior contract with the Mariners in 2012, playing 66 matches in the Hyundai A-League before signing with Shimizu in 2015.

He has also made four appearances for the Socceroos.

“I grew up in Liverpool so coming back to the Western Sydney Wanderers was an easy decision. It is a very good feeling to represent where you come from,” said Duke.

“There’s always been a small part of me that wanted to play at the club at some point in my career so coming back from spending the last four years in Japan was a very easy decision for me.

“A big part of the reason to come back to Australia was my family and the football level, and there’s no better place for me to play than at my home. This club is my hometown club.”

Duke will link up with his Wanderers teammates after Friday’s clash with Brisbane Roar and could be available for the club’s next match against Newcastle Jets in Round 17.