Mariners sign Dutch-based Aussie

Central Coast Mariners have signed young Australian defender and “long-term prospect” Harry Ascroft on a three-year deal.

The 20-year-old youth international arrived in Gosford after two seasons with VVV-Venlo in the Eerste Divisie, Netherlands second tier.

After a two-week trial with the Mariners, he inked his first A-League contract on Wednesday.

“It's hard to tell whether a player with overseas experience has what it takes to play in the A-League, especially at such a young age,” coach Tony Walmsley said.

“Holland is obviously a significant place to play football and at 20, Harry has already played first team football at VVV-Venlo.

“His character, personality and work ethic immediately stood out then as we opened up the pitch size we got to see the scope of his ability and potential.

“Harry is a long-term prospect but can he play and have an impact this season? I think so. He has some outstanding attributes and he's a top signing for our club,” he said.

Ascroft, a former Kissing Point junior, began his professional career with a bang when he was scouted by the Netherlands club while playing for Sydney University.

Comfortable as central defender or right back, he made seven first team competitive appearances for VVV-Venlo among other exhibition matches, including a hit out against Portuguese giants FC Porto.

“It feels really good to join the Mariners and I’m really excited about the future,” Ascroft said.

“Playing in the Netherlands was a great experience, I learned a lot and it allowed me to mature a lot as a player and as a person.

“I’m a very relaxed, calm player. I like to keep things very simple and I always put in 110 per cent.

“There are some quality players (here) so I am really looking forward to the season ahead."