Ascroft lured by Mariners' proven production line

Young Socceroo Harry Ascroft says Central Coast’s history of producing players who succeed in Europe was a major factor in his decision to join the club.

Ascroft, 20, joined the Mariners in the off-season after more than 12 months with Dutch club VVV Venlo where he made seven first-team appearances.

The defender made his A-League debut in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Perth Glory and is one of a handful promising players lured to the Mariners by new coach Tony Walmsley, along with Mitch Austin and Paul Izzo.

The Gosford-based club has struggled to compete with the league’s heavyweights in the recruitment of big-name players.

The Mariners have previously seen the likes of Mat Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Oliver Bozanic, Alex Wilkinson, Mitch Duke, Bernie Ibini, Mile Jedinak and Tom Rogic go on to bigger and better things after time at the Mariners.

“They’ve got past history which proven players who have made it over in Europe,” Ascroft told FourFourTwo.

“I definitely want to be a part of that. They’ve got great history in nurturing and developing players as well.

“That was a major factor and I’m happy to be at the Mariners.”

Ascroft penned a three-year contract at Central Coast Stadium, but admits he still wants another crack at Europe.

“The three years is a long-term plan but you never know where football takes you,” he said.

“Tony Walmsley is a great coach and a great person. He’s very encouraging and pushes the young players.

“Especially with the history of the Mariners, producing players to go overseas, it was a big part.

 “He’s given a lot of faith to young players and that was a major factor as well.”

 Ascroft was also enthused by the football encouraged at Central Coast under Walmsley.

 “He definitely wants an entertaining style for the fans,” he said.

 “We speak about being entertaining as a group for the fans and playing attacking-minded football.”

 Plenty of people have already written off the Mariners, with few tipping them to make the finals.

 “It is a young squad but it’s very passionate and motivated,” Ascroft said.

 “We all want to do really well. We’ve got all the talent in the group, with some experience so it’s a good mix.”