Western Sydney Wanderers have unveiled local boy Mitchell Duke as their new club captain ahead of their homecoming campaign.
The 28-year-old forward was born in Liverpool, only 20km south of Western Sydney’s spiritual home in Parramatta, and led out his hometown club on their return to Wanderland against Leeds United in July.
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Following more than 100 appearance in the J-League for Shimizu S-Pulse, the five-cap Caltex Socceroo signed for Western Sydney in January 2019, midway through the last Hyundai A-League season, and scored four goals in 11 games as Wanderers finished eighth in the ladder.
Head coach Markus Babbel has added the likes of experienced Swiss pair Pirmin Schwegler and Daniel Lopar and Polish playmaker Radi Majewski, as Western Sydney chase a return to finals football after two seasons on the outside looking in.
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Duke skippered the side when Western Sydney Wanderers played their first game at Bankwest Stadium against Leeds United in July.
And, with the Harbour City club taking residence in Bankwest Stadium after three years living nomadically, Duke could not hide his excitement about leading out the club which represents his own community.
“Coming to the Wanderers is already a massive privilege, but to be named captain is a massive honour in itself,” Duke said, after being appointed the club's sixth full-time skipper.
“I’m excited to bring my leadership and create an environment at the club that is not just about me leading the club with the armband.
“We are a team full of leaders, it doesn’t matter how old the boys are 20 or 35, I want everyone to be a leader.
Duke also paid tribute to the Wanderers' inaugural captain, Michael Beauchamp, who presented him with the captain's armband.
“With Michael Beauchamp giving me the armband, it was a massive honour,” Duke added.
“I can’t be thankful enough for the boys thinking and believing in me that I’m up for this challenge.
“[Beauchamp] was obviously one of the first players involved with the club and was the inaugural captain, so for him to present me with the captain’s armband makes it even more special and I can’t wait to show what I can do.”