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Former Ireland striker Cox joins A-League side managed by ex-Liverpool defender
Simon Cox has moved to Western Sydney Wanderers, where Markus Babbel is the man at the helm.

euro-2012-spanien-irland DPA / PA Images Simon Cox under pressure from Spain's Sergio Ramos and Sergio Busquets at Euro 2012. DPA / PA Images / PA Images

MARKUS BABBEL’S WESTERN Sydney Wanderers have announced the signing of Simon Cox on a deal that will run until the end of the 2020/21 season.

The former Republic of Ireland international striker makes the move to Australia from League One club Southend United, who he had been with since 2016.

Cox, who won Southend’s Player of the Season award last year, finished as top goalscorer at the end of each of his three full campaigns at Roots Hall.

He scored 45 times in 172 appearances for Southend, who currently languish second-from-bottom in League One under the stewardship of Sol Campbell.

“I’d like to thank all the players I’ve played with and staff I’ve got to know at the football club who have helped me along the way and the decision to leave isn’t one that I’ve taken lightly,” Cox told Southend United’s official website following this morning’s announcement that his contract has been cancelled by mutual consent.

“I’ve enjoyed playing for Southend and for the fans, it’s been an emotional time these last few seasons. I’m taking with me some unbelievable memories and I’d like to wish everyone at the football club the best for the future and I hope good times are around the corner.”

charlton-athletic-v-southend-united-sky-bet-league-one-the-valley EMPICS Sport Cox playing for Southend United back in February. EMPICS Sport

Cox, who began his career at Reading, played over 500 games in English football. The majority of those came in the Championship and League One, although he did make 37 Premier League appearances over the course of two seasons at West Bromwich Albion.

Now 32, the English-born forward — who qualified to play for the Boys in Green through his Irish grandmother — also had spells at Brentford, Northampton Town, Swindon Town, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City.

Cox won 30 senior caps for Ireland, all but three of them under Giovanni Trapattoni. He scored when making his debut in a 5-0 win over Northern Ireland in May 2011, with his last international appearance coming in a friendly defeat to Portugal in June 2014. He also featured in all three of Ireland’s games at Euro 2012. 

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Cox told the Western Sydney Wanderers website. “I’ve never been to Australia so I’m looking forward to come over and score some goals. That’s what I’m there to do and that’s what I’ve been doing most my career. I’m expecting a big challenge.”

Western Sydney Wanderers, who currently sit in eighth place in the A-League, are in their second season under the management of Markus Babbel, the former German international defender who had a spell at Liverpool during his playing career.

Cox added: “I’m expecting it to be tough, you’ve got to get acclimatised which can be tough but I am looking forward to the challenge. As someone who’s played at the top level I’m not taking anything for granted and I’m looking forward to every challenge that comes my way in the A-League.

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aleague-victory-wanderers AAP / PA Images Western Sydney Wanderers manager Markus Babbel. AAP / PA Images / PA Images

“It’s an honour to come and play for the club and I hope that we can build something together as a club. I’m looking forward to playing in front of what I’ve been told are the best fans in the A-League and I hope that we have some good times ahead.”

In Australia, Cox could come up against his former Ireland team-mate Wes Hoolahan, who’s nearing the end of an injury lay-off at Newcastle Jets. Irish duo Roy O’Donovan and Jay O’Shea, both at Robbie Fowler’s Brisbane Roar, also play in the A-League.

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