SOUTHEND United have signed Australia skipper Mark Milligan. 

The 33-year-old midfielder, who can also play at centre-back, has signed a one-year deal with the option of a further 12 months.

And thereafter it is intended Milligan will remain with the club for at least a further two years in a coaching role within the academy or the Shrimpers' first team.

Milligan becomes Blues' second signing of the summer and is pleased to have arrived at Roots Hall

“I’m very excited,"said Milligan.

"It’s always a process but to be down here now I can’t wait to get started.

“I met with Kevin Bond and he was wonderful, as was the chairman Ron Martin.

"My agent has worked closely with the chairman in getting this exciting project across the line.

“Everything they’ve done for me so far has been outstanding and is a massive part of why I signed.

“The way that they went about things and how it’s all happened since has been very professional and it makes me excited.

“The competitiveness of games at this level with sometimes three games a week, along with the ambition of getting the club back to the Championship, was also an important part in my decision.”

Milligan has been capped 79 times for his country, as well as playing in four World Cups, and was most recently at Scottish Premiership side Hibernian.

And he is looking forward to the next step in his career and making the move into English football for the first time.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to play a lot of games internationally and at some major tournaments as well so one thing that I will bring is experience, on and off the pitch, which can sometimes be hard to come by,” said Milligan. 

“I’m able to play in a few positions but from all our conversations I’m viewed as more of a defensive midfielder which suits me fine.

"That’s where I’ve played the majority of my career.

“I like a challenge and this next step for me is a new challenge which I can’t wait to get started.”

The deal is subject to international clearance.