Rangers: Michael O'Halloran takes Aaron Mooy advice on Melbourne City move

Michael O'Halloran on Rangers' bench
Michael O'Halloran played one minute as a substitute for Rangers last season

World Cup midfielder Aaron Mooy helped persuade Michael O'Halloran to sign for Melbourne City after leaving Rangers.

The pair have been friends since their youth days with Bolton Wanderers.

"He is one of my closest friends in football now and I still keep in contact with him," O'Halloran, 27, said as he agreed a two-year contract.

"I was straight on to the phone to him. He told me it was a great place and a great club with great people and it would be a great opportunity for me."

As Mooy prepares for Australia's second group game of the finals after a narrow 2-1 defeat by France, his friend was agreeing a switch to the A-League in the Huddersfield Town midfielder's homeland.

City head coach Warren Joyce remembered the two playing together with Bolton youths and O'Halloran is delighted with the recognition from the former Trotters midfielder.

"He is a good football person who knows the game and he's someone you want to play under and want to do well for," the Scot told City's website.

"I feel he can improve me as a player as well.

"When the coach believes in you, it gives you a self confidence."

Melbourne City announce the signing of Michael O'Halloran
Melbourne City announced the signing of O'Halloran on their Twitter feed

After failing to break into Bolton's first team, O'Halloran joined St Johnstone in 2014 following spells on loan to Sheffield United, Carlisle United and Tranmere Rovers and having played for Scotland Under-21s.

Two impressive seasons with Saints in the Scottish top flight persuaded Rangers to buy the winger in January 2016 as they bid for promotion from the Championship.

However, almost half of his 38 appearances for the Glasgow club came as a substitute and he spent the first half of last season back at McDiarmid Park on loan, scoring all five of his goals in the first six of his 17 appearances.

However, after returning to Ibrox in January, he would only play one minute of football in the rest of the campaign.

Although he was contracted until summer 2020, O'Halloran was keen to move and is delighted to switch to City despite never having been to Australia before.

"When I spoke to them, for me, it was a no-brainer," he said. "It was a great opportunity to go and start a fresh challenge.

France forward is challenged by Australia midfielder Aaron Mooy
Mooy (right) started for Australia as they lost 2-1 to France in Russia

"I've seen a lot of the Australian football on the TV and I know it is a good standard and there are some really good players over there."

City finished third in the A-League in 2017-18, but they lost in the play-offs as city rivals Victory were crowned champions.

"The team did really well last year, but I'm coming to try to improve the team and play my part in a successful team that can win the league," he said.

"Our first and foremost aim will be getting into the Asian Champions League.

"I am coming with high hopes of playing in a team that are really going places."

Englishman Joyce, who has managed Royal Antwerp and Wigan Athletic as well as Manchester United's reserve side, is building his squad for his second campaign in charge.

"Michael brings a wealth of experience from a number of clubs, including one of the biggest in Europe," he added.

"He's a very exciting player to watch - he has pace to burn and is capable of creating and scoring goals.

"He will be an important addition to the squad."

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