AAP Soccer

Jets entice Welshman Ledley to A-League

By AAP Newswire

Veteran Welsh international Joe Ledley said he couldn't say no when life-long friend and mentor Carl Robinson offered him an A-League contract at Newcastle.

Accomplished central midfielder Ledley, 33, has signed a short-term deal until the end of the season - probably just eight more games at the struggling Jets - but won't rule out the possibility of extending his stay into 2020-21.

Without a club and wanting to prove to Welsh coach Ryan Giggs he should be considered for this year's European Championship, it didn't take much convincing from Newcastle coach Robinson for Ledley to agree to his first contract outside the United Kingdom.

The pair were teammates in the Wales national team more than a decade ago, but their relationship stretches even further back.

Ledley said Robinson used to look after him when he was a young child.

"The question was asked and I couldn't turn it down really," he told reporters on Tuesday.

"He just said 'come and work under me, you know me as a person'. It's my first time to play under Carl as a manager so I'm looking forward to that.

"The last few games I've watched (Newcastle), the football's been fantastic and they've tried to dominate possession."

Ledley has played 77 times for Wales, starting all six games on their way to the semi-finals of the 2016 European Championship.

After six years at Cardiff City, Ledley represented Celtic for nearly four seasons - playing a role in three Scottish Premiership title-winning campaigns - before stints in England with Crystal Palace, Derby County and Charlton Athletic.

Former Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak was a teammate at Palace for three seasons in the English Premier League and sold Ledley on the virtues of the A-League.

There were more recent positive reports from friend and former Celtic striker Gary Hooper, who is now at Wellington Phoenix.

To make space for Ledley, Newcastle have parted ways with their New Zealand international midfielder Matt Ridenton, mutually agreeing to the termination of his contract.

Ridenton made 30 appearances in 18 months but was employed primarily off the bench this season.

Ledley's signing comes a day after the Jets announced the acquisition of former Central Coast and Sydney FC attacker Bernie Ibini until the end of the season.