Greatest Ever Australian Footballer (Defenders)

George Keith

Born in Scotland, Keith began his career representing Greenock Morton, Guildford City, Ayr United and Third Lanark.  In 1965 Keith immigrated to Australia, moving to Melbourne, where he played for Melbourne Hakoah and made his debut for the Socceroos whilst at the club.  When Keith left Melbourne Hakoah he relocated to Sydney in order to play for A.P.I.A Leichhardt where he would end his career.

Date of Birth:             26 May 1944

Clubs:                       1961-1962 Greenock Morton

1962-1963 Guildford City

1963-1964 Ayr United

1964-1965 Third Lanark

1965-1968 Melbourne Hakoah

1969-1974 A.P.I.A Leichhardt

Socceroos Stats:       20 Appearances

Debut:                       1967 vs. New Zealand (Saigon)


Doug Utjesenović

Born in Belgrade, SR Serbia, Utjesenović started his career with hometown club OFK Belgrade before moving to Melbourne to join Footscray JUST. This was seen as a stepping stone for Utjesenovic to move to Sydney and play for St George-Budapest, and subsequently the Socceroos – which included appearing in all three of the Socceroos games at the 1974 World Cup.

Date of Birth:               8 October 1946

Clubs:                        1967-1969 OFK Belgrade

1969-1970 Footscray JUST

1971-1980 St George-Budapest

Socceroos Stats:        35 Appearances

2 Goals

Debut:                        1972 vs. New Zealand (Jakarta)


Alan Davidson

Born in Melbourne, Victoria, Davidson started his career with local club Altona City before becoming a regular in the NSL with South Melbourne. This leading to his Socceroos debut, and a stint with Melbourne Croatia. Davidson also spent a season in England with Nottingham Forest and in Malaysia with Pahang FA, where he was voted the league’s best player.

Date of Birth:              1 June 1960

Clubs:                        1976-1977 Altona City 36 Appearances

1978-1984 South Melbourne 142 Appearances

1984-1985 Nottingham Forest

1986 South Melbourne 13 Appearances

1987-1992 Melbourne Croatia 133 Appearances

1992-1996 South Melbourne 15 Appearances

1995 Pahang FA

1996-1997 Collingwood Warriors 10 Appearance

1997-1998 Melbourne Knights 13 Appearances

Socceroos Stats:         54 Appearances

2 Goals

Debut:                        1980 vs. Czechoslovakia (Melbourne)


Tony Vidmar

Born in Adelaide, SA, Vidmar like his brother Aurelio got his start with local NSL side Adelaide City, where he would make 134 appearances. This earned him a spot in the national team, which included competing at the 1992 Olympics where Australia would finish fourth.

Following the Olympics Vidmar played one season in Belgium with Germinal Ekeren, but failed to settle. He returned to Adelaide for another two seasons before signing for NAC Breda in Holland where he would spend two successful seasons and earning a move to Rangers in the Scottish Premier League. He quickly became a favourite at Ibrox where he is still held in high regard.

Vidmar then played in the Premier League with Middlesbrough before moving down a division with Cardiff.  Vidmar was then welcomed back to NAC Breda in order to play top flight football in the lead up to the 2006 World Cup. However, an irregular heart rhythm forced him to withdraw from the World Cup squad.  Vidmar retired from international football in 2006 and finished his career with the Central Coast Mariners. He is currently the sixth most capped Socceroo.

Date of Birth:               4 July 1970

Clubs:                        1989-1995 Adelaide City 134 Appearances

1993 Germinal Ekeren 9 Appearances

1995-1997 NAC Breda 61 Appearances

1997-2002 Rangers 104 Appearances

2002-2003 Middlesbrough 12 Appearances

2003-2005 Cardiff City 73 Appearances

2005-2006 NAC Breda 21 Appearances

2006-2008 Central Coast Mariners 33 Appearances

Socceroos Stats:        76 Appearances

3 Goals

Debut:                        1991 vs. Czechoslovakia (Sydney)


Luke Wilkshire

Born in Wollongong, NSW, Wilkshire joined local NSL club Wollongong Wolves youth before spending a year at the AIS in Canberra.  After graduating from the AIS program Wilkshire was snapped up by Middlesbrough, where he would start his senior career.  Wilkshire left Middlesbrough in search of first team football, ending up at Second Division side Bristol City.

During his time at Bristol Guus Hiddink brought Wilkshire into the Socceroos squad and started two World Cup games against Japan and Italy.  Wilkshire’s performances in the World Cup led to a contract in Holland with FC Twente where he would go on to play in the UEFA Cup and help his side qualify for the Champions League.  In 2008 Wilkshire moved to Russia with Moscow club Dynamo Moscow where he is currently a regular for the Russian Premier League side.

Date of Birth:             2 October 1981

Clubs:                       1998-2003 Middlesbrough 22 Appearances

2003-2006 Bristol City 110 Appearances

2006-2008 Twente 59 Appearances

2008- Dynamo Moscow 93 Appearances

Socceroos Stats:        66 Appearances

6 Goals

Debut:                        2004 vs. Solomon Islands (Honiara)



Born in Leichhardt, NSW, Marston became the first Australian to play professionally overseas when he signed for Preston North End in 1950; his five year stint at the club included an FA Cup Final appearance at Wembley and being selected in the English Football League’s best XI.

Date of Birth:               7 January 1926

Clubs:                        1943-1949 Leichhardt-Annandale

1950-1955 Preston North End – 185 Appearances

1954 FA Cup Finalist

1955-1958 Leichhardt-Annandale

1959-1964 APIA Leichhardt

1969 Western Suburbs SC

Socceroos Stats:         37 Appearances

Debut:                        1947 vs. South Africa (Sydney)



Born in Konigsberg, Germany, Schaefer emigrated to Australia aged 14 and signed for Blacktown, then Budapest, which became St George-Budapest. This led to his selection for the Socceroos, and Schaefer appearing in all three of the Socceroos games at the 1974 World Cup.

Date of Birth:             12 February 1943

Clubs:                       1960-1963 Blacktown

1963-1964 Budapest

1965-1975 St George-Budapest

Socceroos Stats:         51 Appearances

Debut:                        1967 vs. New Zealand (Saigon)



Born in England, Watkiss emigrated from England to Australia with his family.  Starting his career at Canterbury-Marrickville, Watkiss moved to APIA Leichhardt before ending up at Hakoah, which led to his selection in the Socceroos squad for the 1974 World Cup.

Date of Birth:              28 March 1941

Clubs:                        1957-1963 Canterbury-Marrickville

1964-1968 APIA Leichhardt

1969-1974 Hakoah

1975-1978 Sutherland

Socceroos Stats:       23 Appearances

2 Goals

Debut:                       1965 vs. North Korea (Phnom Penh)



Peter Wilson was born in Felling, England.  After coming through the ranks at Middlesbrough Wilson emigrated to Australia in 1969, at age 22, to play for Wollongong based club South Coast United.  Wilson then went on to play for Marconi, the short lived Safeway United, Western Suburbs and APIA Leichhardt.  Wilson was not only selected for the 1974 World Cup but succeeded Johnny Warren as captain.  Wilson is currently the 9th most capped Socceroo and captained the side a record 60 times.

Date of Birth:              15 September 1947

Clubs:                        1966-1968 Middlesbrough 1 Appearance

1968-1969 Gateshead FC 2 Appearances

1969-1971 South Coast United 62 Appearances

1972 Club Marconi 21 Appearances

1973-1974 Safeway United 44 Appearances

1975-1978 Western Suburbs 83 Appearances

1979-1982 APIA Leichhardt 86 Appearances

Socceroos Stats:         65 Appearances

3 Goals

Debut:                        1970 vs. Iran (Tehran)



Born in Sydney, NSW, Yankos spent the majority of his career in the NSL apart from a season overseas with Greek side PAOK Salonika.  Yankos made his NSL debut with Heidelberg United and spent 6 seasons with the club before moving to Adelaide to play for West Adelaide then moving to Sydney where he joined APIA Leichhardt and helped the club win the 1987 NSL title.  Yankos then moved to Greece for the 1989/9 season before returning to Sydney for Blacktown City, Wollongong City and Canterbury-Marrickville. Since his Socceroos debut in 1983 Yankos was a regular and captained the Socceroos on 30 occasions.

Date of Birth:               29 May 1961

Clubs:                        1979-1985 Heidelberg United 136 Appearances

1986 West Adelaide

1987-1988 APIA Leichhardt 44 Appearances

1988-1989 PAOK Salonika 7 Appearances

1989-1990 Blacktown City

1990-1992 Wollongong City

1992 Canterbury-Marrickville 15 Appearances

1992-1994 Wollongong City

Socceroos Stats:        49 Appearances

7 Goals

Debut:                      1983 vs. England (Sydney)



Born in Sivac, Yugoslavia, Ivanovic started his professional career with Belgrade sides Red Star and OFK, making over 250 combined appearances for both clubs.  Ivanovic then immigrated to Australia and was picked up by NSL side Adelaide City where he would make 290 appearances in his eleven years with the club.  Ivanovic rarely missed a game for the Socceroos becoming the defensive backbone of the side.  For his final appearance for the Socceroos, Ivanovic was handed the captaincy.

Date of Birth:               21 December 1960

Clubs:                        1978-1982 Red Star Belgrade 84 Appearances

1982-1985 OFK Belgrade 83 Appearances

1985-1989 Red Star Belgrade 83 Appearances

1987-1988 Radnicki Nis 19 Appearances

1989-2000 Adelaide City 290 Appearances

Socceroos Stats:         59 Appearances

Debut:                        1991 vs. Czechoslovakia (Melbourne)



Born in Adelaide, SA, Tobin spent 16 years of his career with hometown club Adelaide City in the NSL, amassing 436 appearances for the club during which time he made his 87 appearances for the Socceroos. He currently stands as the third most capped Socceroo. Tobin left Adelaide for Sydney towards the end of his career lending his wealth of experience to Parramatta City and Northern Spirit.

Date of Birth:              3 November 1965

Clubs:                       1984-2000 Adelaide City 436 Appearances

2001-2002 Parramatta City 48 Appearances

2002-2003 Northern Spirit 38 Appearances

Socceroos Stats:        87 Appearances

2 Goals

Debut:                       1988 vs. Taiwan (Adelaide)



Born in Sydney, NSW, Zelic spent three seasons in the NSL with Sydney clubs Olympic and Croatia before being signed by German side Borussia Dortmund. His overseas career began brightly, with Zelic picking up a UEFA Cup runners up medal in 1992/3 and Bundesliga champions in 1994/5.

After three successful seasons at Dortmund, Zelic moved to Queens Park Rangers, Eintract Frankfurt and Auxerre then moved back to Germany with TSV 1860 Munchen, who he would represent over 100 times. After leaving 1860 Munchen Zelic moved to Japan initially with Kyoto Purple Sanga then Urawa Red Diamonds where he won the 2003 J League Cup.

Zelic returned to Europe with Austrian side Wacker Tirol before returning to Australia for the Newcastle Jets in the newly formed A-League. In a bid to make the 2006 World Cup squad Zelic moved back to Europe to join Dutch club Helmond Sport, after missing out on the World Cup squad Zelic moved on to Dinamo Tbilisi where he took home a champions medal in the 2007/8 Georgian League.

Date of Birth:               4 July 1971

Clubs:                        1989-1991 Sydney Croatia 36 Appearances

1991-1992 Sydney Olympic 16 Appearances

1992-1995 Borussia Dortmund 72 Appearances

1995 Queens Park Rangers 11 Appearances

1996 Eintract Frankfurt 20 Appearances

1996-1997 AJ Auxerre 18 Appearances

1997-2001 TSV 1860 Munchen 102 Appearances

2002 Kyoto Purple Sanga 1 Appearance

2002-2003 Urawa Red Diamonds 23 Appearances

2004-2005 Wacker Tirol 22 Appearances

2005-2006 Newcastle Jets 21 Appearances

2006 Helmond Sport 7 Appearances

2006-2008 Dinamo Tbilisi 34 Appearances

Socceroos Stats:       33 Appearances

3 Goals

Debut:                      1991 vs. Czechoslovakia (Sydney)



Born in Sydney, NSW, Moore won many achievements throughout his successful career especially at Glasgow rangers where at the heart of their defense he won 5 Scottish championships, 4 Scottish cups and 3 Scottish league cups.He played a critical part of the Ranger’s side who won the treble in the 2002/03 season. He played throughout Europe in Scotland, England, Germany and even a short stint in Greece.

His years as the marquee player for Queensland earned him personal accolades including Players player of the year. One of Moore’s greatest moments for Australia was playing a huge part in taking Australia to the 2006 world cup and scoring a penalty against Croatia in a 2-2 draw to take Australia into the final 16 of the world cup finals. In 2011, Moore was inducted into the FFA Hall of Champions.

Date of Birth:              12 December 1975

Clubs:                        1994-1998 Rangers 73 Appearances

1998-1999 Crystal Palace 23 Appearances

1999-2005 Rangers 102 Appearances

2005 Borussia Monchengladbach 13 Appearances

2005-2007 Newcastle United 31 Appearances

2007-2009 Brisbane Roar 62 Appearances

2010 Kavala 10 Appearances

Socceroos Stats:       52 Appearances

3 Goals

Debut:                      1995 vs. Ghana (Adelaide)



Born in Sydney, NSW, Neill played youth football on the northern beaches with Manly United before moving to Canberra to join the AIS.  Following his stint with the AIS, Neill moved to England to sign for First Division side Millwall, amassing 152 appearances during his six year stay.

Neill then moved into the Premier League after being transferred to Blackburn Rovers, quickly establishing himself as the first choice right back for the club and making 188 appearances in six seasons. During his time at Blackburn, Neill was handed the Socceroos captaincy following Mark Viduka’s retirement.  After Blackburn, Neill moved to West Ham United and then Everton before leaving England after 15 years to play for Galatasaray in Turkey and then for Al Jazira in the United Arab Emirates.  Neill is currently the fifth most capped Socceroo.

Date of Birth:               9 March 1978

Clubs:                       1995-2001 Millwall 152 Appearances

2001-2007 Blackburn Rovers 188 Appearances

2007-2009 West Ham United 79 Appearances

2009-2010 Everton 12 Appearances

2010-2011 Galatasaray 37 Appearances

2011- Al Jazira 4 Appearances

Socceroos Stats:        79 Appearances

Debut:                       1996 vs. Saudi Arabia (Riyadh)



Popovic began his career with Sydney United, rising through the youth ranks. He made 162 appearances for the first team. He spent seven years in first team before a move to play in the J-League. He signed with Sanfreece Hiroshima where he stayed for five years, scoring 13 goals in 94 appearances.

Tony Popovic signed for Crystal Palace on a free transfer in August 2001 from Sanfrecce Hiroshima. He became an integral part of the Palace defense, eventually becoming club captain. Popovic’s contract with Palace expired at the end of June 2006, and he decided against accepting the club’s offer of a new contract. He instead moved to Qatar club, Al-Arabi. It was at Crystal Palace where he also scored one of the most remarkable own goals ever.

In 2007, with the growth of the A-League and slight homesickness, Popovic, moved to his home town club Sydney FC, signing a two year deal, with coach Branko Čulina also announcing him the club’s captain.  Popovic announced his retirement on 11 November 2008, his body not being able to cope with the A-League conditions, after nearly 20 years as a professional footballer.

Date of Birth:               4 July 1973

Clubs:                        1989–1997 Sydney United 162 Appearances

1994 – Canberra FC (loan) 5 Appearances

1997–2001 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 87 Appearances

2001–2006 Crystal Palace 123 Appearances

2006–2007 Al-Arabi 17 (2) 2007–2008 Sydney FC 27 Appearances

Socceroos Stats:        58 Appearances

8 Goal

Debut:                        1995



Born in England in 1953, Jim Tansey came to Melbourne where he joined Prahran Slavia in the Victorian State League. He quickly developed as a defender and was the Victorian 1976 Rothmans Gold Medal winner and the Media Best Player. Tansey played for Victoria before gaining Australian selection against the USSR in Melbourne in November 1975. Three years later he was selected for the match against Greece. He toured overseas with the Socceroos and played in the 1982 World Cup campaign. Tansey was selected 41 times for Australia, including 19 A class matches.

Date of Birth:              1953

Clubs:                        Slavia (Vic)

Heidelberg (Australia)

Footscray (Australia)

Croydon (Vic)

Socceroos Stats:       41 Appearances

Debut:                      1975 vs. USSR (friendly)


Colin Curran

Born in Newcastle, NSW, Curran spent his youth career in England playing for Manchester United; Curran played a season with Marconi in between stints with his hometown club Adamstown Rosebuds.  Curran appeared in all three of the Socceroos games at the 1974 World Cup, after which he was signed by Western Suburbs and then moved back to Newcastle with Newcastle KB.

Date of Birth:               21 August 1947

Clubs:                        1964-1965 Manchester United

1966 Adamstown Rosebuds

1971 Marconi

1972 Adamstown Rosebuds

1974-1977 Western Suburbs 26 Appearances

1978 Newcastle KB 26 Appearances

Socceroos Stats:         23 Appearances

1 Goal

Debut:                        1970 vs. Iran (Tehran)



“Johnny Warren always used to say to me that the Aboriginal talent out there was an untapped resource, and that we should be doing something about it.”  Born in Sydney, NSW, after rising up through the junior ranks at St George, Williams was the first Indigenous Australian to play for the Socceroos and was selected in the 1974 Socceroos World Cup squad.

Date of Birth:               7 May 1951

Clubs:                        1970-1977 St George-Budapest

1978 Canberra City SC

1985-1986 Inter Monaro

1990 Inter Monaro

Socceroos Stats:        13 Appearances

Debut:                        1974 vs. Indonesia (Jakarta)



Born in Newcastle, NSW, Jennings was handed his senior debut aged 16 with local Newcastle side Adamstown Rosebud.  Jennings was selected for the Australian U20’s which lead to a move to Sydney where he would go on to play in the NSL for Sydney Olympic, Sydney Croatia and APIA Leichhardt before moving back to his hometown Newcastle to represent Newcastle Breakers then returning to Adamstown Rosebud the club where his career began. In 1999 Jennings was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame receiving the Award of Distinction.

Date of Birth:                18 January 1960

Clubs:                        1976-1978 Adamstown Rosebud

1979-1985 Sydney Olympic 166 Appearances

1986-1989 Sydney Croatia 89 Appearances

1989-1992 APIA Leichhardt 74 Appearances

1993-1994 Newcastle Breakers 25 Appearances

1994 Adamstown Rosebud 38 Appearances

Socceroos Stats:         44 Appearances

Debut:                        1983 vs. England (Sydney)



Born in Perth, WA, Lazaridis began his career with local Perth side Floreat Athena before moving to West Adelaide to play in the NSL in 1992. Harry Redknapp signed Lazaridis after he was impressed by the player during West Ham United’s 1995 pre-season tour of Australia.

Lazaridis spent four seasons at West Ham, before dropping down a division to play for Birmingham City, where he played in the 2001 League Cup Final, helping the club to promotion to the Premier League in 2002/3. After seven years at Birmingham Lazaridis was released by the club and took the opportunity to return to Australia with Perth Glory in the A-League where he would spend two seasons, before retiring in 2008.

Date of Birth:              16 August 1972

Clubs:                        1991-1992 Floreat Athena 28 Appearances

1992-1995 West Adelaide 73 Appearances

1995-1999 West Ham United 69 Appearances

1999-2006 Birmingham City 191 Appearances

2006-2008 Perth Glory 13 Appearances

Socceroos Stats:        60 Appearances

Debut:                       1993 Kuwait (Singapore)



Born in Sydney, NSW, Okon made his debut in the NSL with Marconi before being signed by Club Brugge at the age of 19. Okon established himself as a key player for Brugge and was integral to the club winning the Belgian Cup in 1994/5 and the Belgian League and Cup double in 1995/6 also winning the Belgian Golden Shoe, given to the league’s best footballer.

Okon’s form lead to him being named Oceania Player of the Year and earned him a transfer to Serie A with Lazio. Okon’s three seasons with Lazio were plagued with injury and he eventually moved on to Fiorentina before leaving Italy for England after signing for Middlesbrough in 2000.

In England Okon represented Middlesbrough, Watford and Leeds United before moving back to Italy for a season with Vicenza. Okon’s time with Vicenza was followed by a return to Belgium with K.V. Oostende then by a stint in Cyprus with APOEL before returning to Australia to play for the Newcastle Jets.

Date of Birth:            5 April 1972

Clubs:                     1989-1991 Marconi 49 Appearances

1991-1996 Club Brugge 72 Appearances

1996-1999 Lazio 19 Appearances

1999-2000 Fiorentina 11 Appearances

2000-2002 Middlesbrough 28 Appearances

2002 Watford 15 Appearances

2003 Leeds United 15 Appearances

2003-2004 Vicenza 28 Appearances

2004-2005 K.V. Oostende 33 Appearances

2005-2006 APOEL 9 Appearances

2006-2007 Newcastle Jets 17 Appearances

Socceroos Stats:     28 Appearances

Debut:                    1991 vs. Czechoslovakia (Sydney)