All Whites Graham joins Auckland City FC

Words: ACFC Media

Friday 22 September 2017

Picture: Phototek

Auckland City FC is excited to announce the signing of All Whites defender Liam Graham, who joins the club having spent the best part of five years playing in Europe.

Graham arrives at Kiwitea Street following two years with Chesterfield and spells in Italy with Ascoli, Monza and Pro Patria.

The Melbourne-born Kiwi international has won four caps and was most recently on loan with National League South outift Whitehawk FC based in Brighton, England.

He won his first All Whites cap in a 2-1 defeat to Mexico on 9 October 2016 and featured in a 1-1 draw with the USA and two FIFA World Cup qualifiers with New Caledonia.

Head Coach Ramon Tribulietx is excited to have added a player of Graham's pedigree to his squad.

"Liam is very good defensively, he's aggressive and defends one on one situations exceptionally well and can be very good in the attacking side of things too.

"Patience is the key as Liam's been away from football due to a long term injury and he's in the process of returning to a competitive status where we can optimize his tactical and technical abilities.

"Liam is very professional with the way he prepares and manages himself at training and that will definitely help him fit in quickly," Tribulietx said.

25-year-old Graham, who began training with Auckland City FC two weeks ago, is looking forward to experiencing football at Kiwitea Street as the club pursues success in the ISPS Handa Premiership, OFC Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup.

And the international defender is eager to kickstart his career following injury setbacks.

"I wanted to reset my career after a second knee injury in as many years so coming home to New Zealand to do that both mentally and physically was the right choice for me to make.

"Auckland City FC has been sensational so far because it was hard to know what to expect after being a professional for so long but the quality of trainings and the team spirit among the squad is great - I already feel at home.

"When I arrived at the club Ramon said to me 'you've been playing in the UK but here we have an emphasis to keep the ball, its precious', and I said it was nice to hear a coach say that," Graham said.

Deployed wide on the right side of the back four, Graham was a stand out performer in the Navy Blues 4-1 friendly defeat to New Zealand U-17 and he says it was important to put that possession style into practice.

"We've only just started our preparations and while that wasn't the result we wanted we tried to keep possession and I'm excited by the prospect of doing that during the season ahead.

"I love to get up and down the touchline and in attack and I want to give our forwards support and to provide defensive cover. I'm relishing the chance to play for Auckland City FC at the FIFA Club World Cup in a competition I've never played in before and I'm looking forward to playing for the club," he said.

Auckland City FC's next match is a pre-season friendly with Hamilton Wanderers scheduled for Saturday 23 September at Waiheke Island's Onetangi Domain.

The match kicks off at 2.45pm.


Match Details
Fuller's Festival of Football
Saturday 23 September 2017
Auckland City FC v Hamilton Wanderers
Onetangi Domain, Waiheke Island
kick-off: 2.45pm NZST


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