Central Coast Mariners have secured the services of young attacking ace Dejan Pandurevic until the end of the Hyundai A-League 2014/15 season.
The 17-year-old has earned his first professional contract after his spell with the Nike Academy in the United Kingdom ended, a similar series of events as former Mariners midfielder Tom Rogic.
Much like the current Celtic man, Pandurevic secured a move to Britain to join the Nike Academy after impressing in a class of 64 talented participants at the Australian trials.
He failed to land a British work permit, which denied him the opportunity to link with interested clubs in England.
Pandurevic returns back to the Mariners, the club who he featured for during the Mariners’ 2013/14 Foxtel National Youth League season. He says he’s pleased to pen his first professional deal just two days out from 18th birthday.
“It was a great feeling when Mossy called and told me the news. It’s my first professional contract, and it’s fantastic news for myself, my family and is a great reward after all my hard work over the years. It’s fantastic to make it as a professional,” he said.
“It has come at a great time and is a fantastic early birthday present. I was here in the Youth team last year, the boys have made me feel very welcome and it felt like home straight away.”
Pandurevic insists he’ll be training hard and is eager to impress new boss Phil Moss, who he worked with as a youngster at Manly United.
“It will be great to work with Mossy again. He was the Head Coach at Manly when I was there. He obviously moved onto the Mariners and here I am now playing for him. I’ll be working hard at training every day to try and impress him and the coaching staff.”
Moss said he believes Pandurevic is the perfect addition to his squad.
“Dejan is a player of great potential and he’s got a fantastic attitude. He’s technically good, and strong for his age and size. He was one of the standouts in our youth team last year. I think being over in England really toughened him up physically. I know he’s got a great character and mentality.”
“He’s dedicated on making a professional career for himself. We have given him an opportunity until the end of the season and we’ll see how he goes. I’ve got no fear giving young kids an opportunity if I feel they are ready, but they need to work hard and they have to win that spot on their merits,” Moss concluded.