Signing news: New Wanderers recruit Cancar determined to build on European adventure

Western Sydney Wanderers have agreed to bring Phillip Cancar back to the Harbour City and the Young Socceroo is determined to convert his European experience into A-League success.

Cancar departed Sydney FC as a 16-year-old and made the move to Croatian top-flight club Lokomotiva Zagreb, where he spent a year learning his craft before moving on to play senior football with second tier side Hrvatski Dragovoljac.

The Illawarra-native was called up to a Young Socceroos training camp in the Netherlands in February and turned out twice in Green and Gold against Ajax Amsterdam and FC Utrecht’s academy sides, but returned Down Under in March when football was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cancar headed back to Croatia to make two appearances during the 2020/21 season, before newly appointed Wanderers coach Carl Robinson swooped for the defender’s signature in an attempt to tighten up a backline that conceded the equal seventh most goals in the competition last season (40).

The 19-year-old is confident that his European adventure has him well prepared for his debut A-League campaign as the Red and Black search to finally end a three-year drought without advancing to the Finals Series.

“Being 16 at the time and living most of the time all alone in Europe was a massive experience, to be honest,” Cancar explained to


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“The schedule was a massive difference as well... I went from training four times a week in Australia to having double sessions every day in Europe,” he added. 

“Then going to verse teams in pre-season tournaments like FC Schalke, FC Augsburg, Stoke City, and Sassuolo. Overall an unbelievable experience."

Cancar becomes Wanderers’ fourth signing since head coach Robinson was tempted away from Newcastle Jets, joining midfielder Anthony Lesiotis, goalkeeper Daniel Margush and former Premier League attacker Graham Dorrans in Sydney’s west.

“A club like the Wanderers has such a great history and an amazing fan base so it's a dream come true,” Cancar added.

“I just want to help the team success and grow into a top quality player.” 

Meanwhile, SBS The World Game have reported that former Celtic midfielder Leo Mazis is training with the Red and Black after the 20-year-old Aussie spent two years with the Brendan Rodgers-led Scottish giants.

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