David Carney has ended his football hiatus and signed for New York Red Bulls, joining compatriot Tim Cahill at the Major League Soccer outfit.
The deal comes as something of a surprise, with Carney having fallen off the radar since ending an unhappy eight-month stay at Uzbek club Bunyodkor in September 2012.
The 29-year-old Australian has been without a club since then, after trials in recent months at English Premier League side West Ham United and former team Blackpool came to nothing.
Carney had been a Socceroos regular under Pim Verbeek and early in Holger Osieck’s reign but his stock with the Australian football public fell after his error in the 2011 Asian Cup final against Japan allowed Tadanari Lee to score the winner in extra-time.
And the last of his 46 international appearances came in the 2-1 World Cup qualifying defeat away to Jordan last year, in the same month he was deemed surplus to requirements at Bunyodkor.
But with the Socceroos’ left-back berth still up for grabs, midfielder Matt McKay filled in there during the final three matches of World Cup qualifying, Carney may now harbour hopes of a return to favour if he can force his way into the first-team reckoning at Red Bull Arena.
“David is an experienced international player, who can play on the left side both as a defender and a midfielder and he provides us much needed cover,” the Red Bulls’ sporting director Andy Roxburgh said in a statement on the club’s website.
“He is versatile and athletic and has competed at a high level. We are pleased to bring David to New York and look forward to his contribution as a member of the Red Bulls.”
Having begun his career in Everton’s youth system, Carney enjoyed his most consistent spell with Sydney FC between 2005 and 2007, winning the A-League title in his first season.
Carney also claimed an Eredivisie winners’ medal at FC Twente in 2010, when he played eight league games for the Dutch club.
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