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 By AAP

Harrison Delbridge signs with Melbourne City, eyes Australia call-up

Melbourne City assistant coach Michael Valkanis has left the club.

New Melbourne City recruit Harrison Delbridge has returned to Australia carrying the bold ambition of earning Socceroos selection before next year's World Cup.

After moving to the United States at the age of 10, the Sydney-born 25-year-old has played his entire career in America -- most recently impressing over two seasons at second-tier FC Cincinnati.

Bolstering City's defence for an A-League title push isn't the only thing driving the tall defender.

"I came back to Australia to hopefully try to get into the fold with the national team, it's always been a goal of mine," Delbridge, who has signed a three-year deal, said.

"That's always been something I've wanted to do, try and get on that radar a little bit."

Delbridge has not represented any country in any age group and will have to turn the head of a yet-to-be-confirmed new national coach amid heavy competition for central defensive spots.

His work started this week training with City, and will step up in January when the transfer window opens and he becomes available for selection.

Harrison Delbridge
Harrison Delbridge, 25, made 60 appearances for FC Cincinnati, scoring four goals.

Gaining a starting spot will not be straightforward, however, with Michael Jakobsen, Bart Schenkeveld and Iacopo La Rocca currently higher in the pecking order.

City boss Warren Joyce indicated he was pleased with the pedigree of his new acquisition, a two-time USL All-League Team player who started 30 USL games last season.

"He has impressed as one of the USL's best defensive players for the past two years and his performances have made him a target for several MLS clubs," Joyce said.

"We have a desire to develop Harrison, and we believe he will bring an important presence to our backline as a composed and strong defender."

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