Mark Milligan

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Mark Milligan
20180601 FIFA Friendly Match Czech Republic vs. Australia Mark Milligan 850 0206.jpg
Milligan with Australia in 2018
Personal information
Full name Mark Daniel Milligan [1]
Date of birth (1985-08-04) 4 August 1985 (age 35) [1]
Place of birth Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in) [2]
Position(s) Defensive midfielder
Youth career
2002 AIS
Senior career*
2002–2003 Northern Spirit 16 (1)
2004 Blacktown City 9 (5)
2005–2008 Sydney FC 42 (1)
2008–2009 Newcastle Jets 11 (1)
2009 Shanghai Shenhua 25 (1)
2010–2012 JEF United Chiba 53 (3)
2012Melbourne Victory (loan) 10 (1)
2012–2015 Melbourne Victory 73 (14)
2015–2017 Baniyas SC 43 (5)
2017–2018 Melbourne Victory 14 (3)
2018 Al Ahli 8 (0)
2018–2019 Hibernian 28 (0)
2019–2020 Southend United 30 (0)
2020–2021 Macarthur FC 24 (3)
National team
2003–2005 Australia U-20 11 (0)
2006–2008 Australia U-23 25 (7)
2006–2019 Australia 80 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league onlyand correct as of 25 June 2020

Mark Daniel Milligan (born 4 August 1985) is an Australian former professional footballer who played as a midfielder. Starting his career originally as a defender, Milligan has spent much of his later career playing as a midfielder. [3]


Club career

Early career

FourFourTwo magazine revealed on 28 July 2007 that after the Asian Cup Milligan had gone without Sydney FC's permission to trial for teams in Europe. [4] Milligan was linked with French sides FC Metz and RC Lens. The following day Milligan reportedly walked out on Metz just before a scheduled trial game appearance against Standard Liège, allegedly out of frustration at the right-back position he would be trialled in. [5] The following day it was reported that Milligan would return home to play for Sydney FC after all. [6] [7]

During the summer of 2008, he was linked with a move to English Premier League clubs Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City and Arsenal, RC Lens of Ligue 1, as well as with FC Porto in the Primeira Liga and Bundesliga side Werder Bremen.

On 21 October 2008, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Milligan had signed a guest contract with Newcastle United Jets for seven weeks. He made his debut on 24 October 2008, against Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford, where his team lost 1–0. During this time he was also sent off in a match against the Wellington Phoenix.


Milligan joined Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai Shenhua in January 2009, signing a three-year contract. [8]

On 19 May, Milligan scored his first goal for Shanghai Shenhua in their 1–1 draw in the AFC Champions League group stage match against Kashima Antlers.

Milligan finalised his switch from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua to Japanese side JEF United Chiba, who were relegated to the second division. [9]

When the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, Milligan decided to flee the country, fearing for the safety of not only himself, but his wife and child. [10] With the J2 League suspended until further notice, JEF United Chiba gave permission for Milligan to train in a bid to keep his fitness up with his former A-League club Sydney FC. [11]

Melbourne Victory

Milligan training with Melbourne Victory in 2013 Mark Milligan Training.JPG
Milligan training with Melbourne Victory in 2013

On 23 January 2012 it was reported that Melbourne Victory was to secure Milligan on loan until the end of the regular season. [12] It was confirmed on 24 January that Milligan signed for a loan deal to Melbourne Victory until the end of the 2011–12 A-League season, becoming the first Sydney FC player to switch to Melbourne Victory. [13] He returned to Japan in March. [14] In July 2012, Milligan was released from JEF United Chiba and returned to Melbourne Victory by signing a three-year contract. [15]

Milligan starred for Melbourne Victory during their 2012–13 season, moving from centre-back to play as a defensive midfielder, and quickly established himself as one of the best players in the league. Although he has never been a prolific goal scorer, Milligan scored 8 goals in this season, a number of them being clutch goals in important games, including a penalty equaliser in an elimination final against Perth Glory that Melbourne Victory went on to win in extra time. To cap off his season, Milligan won the Victory Medal, awarded to the club's player of the season.

On 17 September 2013, Milligan was rewarded for his performances by being appointed the captain of Melbourne Victory, replacing Adrian Leijer. He was also rumoured to be leaving Melbourne Victory to join fellow national team midfielder Mile Jedinak at newly promoted Premier League club Crystal Palace, however Melbourne Victory rejected a rumoured £2m offer for the defensive midfielder. [16] [17]

Milligan, after a trial at Crystal Palace, stayed on at Melbourne Victory as captain in the 2013–14 season. [18] He sustained an injury halfway through the season, [19] and the team suffered for this and other reasons such as losing their coach, an injury to Adrian Leijer (ex-captain and central defender) and four players (including three defenders) going to the Under 21 World championships (Jason Geria, Connor Pain, Scott Galloway and Nick Ansell). However, Victory improved after this period to finish fourth in the A-League. Milligan played every minute of all but one ACL match, only missing the final away match of the ACL Asian Champions League match through suspension.

On 17 May 2015, Milligan captained his side during their 3–0 defeat of Sydney FC in the 2014–15 A-League Grand Final, held at AAMI Park, Melbourne, and was awarded the Joe Marston Medal as the best player in the match.

Baniyas SC

At the end of the 2014–15 season it was announced that UAE Pro-League side Baniyas SC had triggered the release clause of Milligan's contract with a $1 million transfer fee, and he signed with them on a two-year contract. [20]

Return to the Victory

On 31 July 2017, it was announced Miligan would return to the Victory on a one-year deal as a marquee player. [21]

Al Ahli

On 28 January 2018, Melbourne Victory sold Mark Milligan to Al-Ahli for $1 million. [22] He was assigned the number 5 shirt. On 4 February, he made his debut for Al-Ahli in a league game against Al Ittihad FC. He played at centre-half, with the game finishing 0-0. He got good response from the fans, playing the full 90 minutes in the Jeddah derby.


On 18 August 2018, Milligan signed a two-year contract with Scottish Premiership club Hibernian. [23] Milligan played regularly for Hibernian during the 201819 season, after which he left the club. [24] Hibernian head coach Paul Heckingbottom said that he had opted to exercise a break clause in Milligan's contract as he wanted to "recruit something different to play in that position". [25]

Southend United

On 1 July 2019, Milligan signed for Southend United. [26] Milligan was released by Southend United on 19 June 2020, after the team's relegation from League One. [27]

Macarthur FC

On 30 July 2020, following his release from Southend, Milligan returned home to Australia to join newly formed A-League club Macarthur FC, signing a two-year deal. [28] On 22 October, he was named the club's captain for their inaugural campaign in the A-League. [29] In the club's first match, a local derby against Western Sydney Wanderers on 30 December, Milligan scored the club's first goal which secured a first-ever win. [30]

On 2 June 2021, Milligan announced that he would be retiring from football at the end of the 2020–21 season and would join the coaching staff at Macarthur. [31] [32]

International career

Milligan playing for Australia at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Cameroon-Australia (21) cropped).jpg
Milligan playing for Australia at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup

Milligan represented Australia at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands. In May 2006, he was the youngest player selected in the Australian 2006 FIFA World Cup squad, being one of only two players chosen from the A-League – the other being Michael Beauchamp. Milligan had impressed coaches Graham Arnold and Johan Neeskens at a recent camp in Vietnam, while Guus Hiddink also recalled watching Milligan at the World Youth Championship.

He made his senior international debut against Liechtenstein on 7 June 2006, coming off the bench in the 85th minute of Australia's last warm-up game before the World Cup. He did not play in any of Australia's four World Cup games in Germany. His first start came against Kuwait in an Asian Cup qualifier on 16 August 2006. His next appearance was on 7 October 2006 in a friendly against Paraguay as a late substitute.

In February 2007, Milligan was named as captain of the Australian U-23 side, the 'Olyroos', for two Olympic qualifying games against Chinese Taipei. He sustained a broken nose in an 'off-the-ball' incident during the second qualifier. He led the Olyroos to Olympic qualification and was the key influential figure in their final games against Iraq and North Korea, scoring in each game and taking the man of the match award in both.

Milligan was selected in the Australian squad for the 2007 Asian Cup. During the tournament, Milligan was selected to play in the starting line-up for Australia against co-host nation Thailand in the final game of the group matches. Australia won 4–0 and advanced to the quarter finals of the competition with Milligan putting in what was widely regarded as a Man of the Match performance in the centre of a three-man defence. On 21 July 2007, in the quarter-final against Japan, Milligan was unfortunate in failing to clear a ball from the penalty area that saw striker Naohiro Takahara pounce and score an equaliser. The game ended 1–1 and Australia was eliminated from the Cup on penalties.

Milligan scored his first international goal for the Socceroos against Indonesia in a 2011 Asian Cup Qualifiers played at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. This being the only goal in the match with Australia winning 1–0 and then qualifying for the 2011 competition.

He was named in the 31 man squad named by Pim Verbeek for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. His 2010 FIFA World Cup profile described him as "[a] mobile defender with good ball skills and an ability to play a raking pass." [33]

Milligan was selected for the 30-man preliminary 2014 FIFA World Cup squad, alongside seven other A-League players. [34] Three from Melbourne Victory (Milligan, James Troisi & Tom Rogic) were among the final selection. [35] He played alongside James Troisi and captain Mile Jedinak in a three-man midfield in the Socceroos warm-up match vs Croatia. [36] He played only one game in the 2014 World Cup, a 31 defeat against Chile in their opening match.

In 2015, he was a key member of Australia who won the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. He didn't play in the opening game. After this game, he played in all the next 5 matches, including the final against South Korea. In the second game, he scored the goal against Oman national football team. Australia won the match by 4-0. After the Asian Cup success, he played 7 games out of 8 in second round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification. He scored his fourth and fifth international goals against Tajikistan.

Milligan captained Australia at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, and scored from the penalty spot in the 60th minute in a 1-1 draw against Cameroon.

In the third round of qualification, he played 8 games out of 10. Australia finished third in the table and failed to qualify directly to the World Cup. He played on the winning side in the two-leg tie Asian play-off against Syria. The match ended 3-2 on aggregate after extra time. He also played in the second leg game of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification (CONCACAF–AFC play-off) against Honduras. This was the match which decided the last spot of 2018 FIFA World Cup. The match ended in favour of Australia by 3-1. With that, Australia qualified in the World Cup finals for the fourth time in a row. In May 2018 he was named in Australia's 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. [37] Milligan played in central defence during the tournament, alongside Trent Sainsbury.

Milligan captained Australia at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, in which they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage. [38]

He retired from international football in December 2019. [39]

Career statistics


Milligan playing for Melbourne Victory in 2012 Mark Milligan.jpg
Milligan playing for Melbourne Victory in 2012
As of 17:07, 19 May 2019 (UTC) [40] [41]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
ClubSeasonLeagueDomestic CupsContinentalTotal
Northern Spirit 2002–03 3030
2003–04 131131
Blacktown City 20049595
Sydney FC 2005–06 10130131
2006–07 1703150251
2007–08 15020170
Newcastle Jets 2008–09 111111
Shanghai Shenhua 2009 25161312
JEF United Chiba 2010 150150
2011 29120311
2012 9292
Melbourne Victory 2011–12 101101
2012–13 228228
2013–14 21451265
2014–15 20120221
Baniyas SC 2015–16 21320233
2016–17 22210232
Melbourne Victory 2017–18 14320163
Al Ahli 2017–18 802070170
Hibernian 2018–19 28030310
Career total3223422123236737


Statistics accurate as of match played 10 October 2019. [42]
Scores and results list Australia's goal tally first. [42]
1.3 March 2010 Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia Flag of Indonesia.svg  Indonesia 1–01–0 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualification
2.7 December 2012 Mong Kok Stadium, Mong Kok, Hong Kong Flag of Guam.svg  Guam 8–09–0 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup
3.13 January 2015 Stadium Australia, Sydney, AustraliaFlag of Oman.svg  Oman 3–04–0 2015 AFC Asian Cup
4.8 September 2015 Pamir Stadium, Dushanbe, Tajikistan Flag of Tajikistan.svg  Tajikistan 1–03–0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
5.24 March 2016 Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, AustraliaFlag of Tajikistan.svg  Tajikistan 3–07–0
6.22 June 2017 Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, RussiaFlag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon 1–11–1 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup



Sydney FC

Melbourne Victory




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  40. Mark Milligan at Soccerway
  41. Mark Milligan at Soccerbase
  42. 1 2 Mark Milligan at