Brisbane Roar has appointed Socceroo Matt McKay as its new club captain and has also secured his future at the Hyundai A-League club with a two-year contract extension.
The announcement comes as McKay prepares to set a record number of appearances for the Roar.
The 31-year-old midfielder will play his 163rd game for the club when he takes the field against Central Coast Mariners in a Hyundai A-League Round 12 game in Gosford on Saturday, 27 December.
McKay made his debut for the Roar in a 2-0 win over New Zealand Knights on August 28, 2005 – the club’s first ever Hyundai A-League match – and has now played more than 14,000 minutes for the club, scoring 19 goals to date.
McKay previously captained the Roar from 2009 to 2011 before transferring to Glasgow Rangers. Following stints with Busan IPark (South Korea) and Changchun Yatai (China), he returned to the Roar last year to be the club’s Australian marquee player.
He has played 50 times for the Socceroos and earlier this month was named in the 46-man provisional squad for next month’s AFC Asian Cup to be played in Australia.
McKay says he is honoured to accept the Roar’s captaincy although it will be business as usual when he next takes the field.
“I saw myself as a leader even when I wasn’t captain. I’ll keep that same role I have always had, but now I’ll also ask the other players to help me and to help our cause as we still have to improve as a team,’’ he said.
McKay said he was surprised to learn he was on the brink of an appearance record for the Roar.
“I don’t play for records, it’s more about winning championships for me,” he said.
“But I am delighted to be taking over the record from Mass (Murdocca) because we started here together. We are entrenched in the club’s history, we know where it all began and how it evolved. Hopefully I can add more tradition and history to our club in the future.”
McKay thanked the club for securing his playing future.
“Brisbane Roar has been very supportive in making players longer deals where they can grow into the club and feel like they are contributing and I am no different, so I am delighted to be here for another couple of seasons after this one,” he said.
Brisbane Roar Managing Director Sean Dobson said McKay’s experience at the highest levels of football and senior standing within the Roar playing group made him a natural choice as the club’s next captain.
“Matt has played for Australia at a World Cup, he has played club football in Europe and Asia, and he is about to play a club record number of times in the Hyundai A-League so he is worthy of becoming our club captain for the second time,’’ Dobson said.
“To reach an agreement that will keep him at the club for another two seasons ensures our current playing squad and the younger players coming through our development program will continue to benefit from Matt’s leadership and experience.”
Roar’s interim coach Frans Thijssen praised the leadership McKay brings to his squad.
“He leads by example on and off the field and the respect he has within the playing group is an important part of the character of our club,’’ Thijssen said.