Victory youngster re-signs with A-League Champions

Melbourne Victory defender Nick Ansell has signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until at least the end of the 2016/17 season.

The emerging centre-back, who has made 51 Hyundai A-League appearances for Victory to date, made the commitment to the club he joined as an 18-year-old during the 2012/13 season.

“It has been exciting watching Nick grow into the player he is today, and at just 22 years of age he has only scratched the surface in terms of his football ability,” said Victory head coach Kevin Muscat.

“It has been a difficult season for him through injury, but we’re confident he will emerge a better player both physically and mentally.

“Most importantly, Nick is a quality person who wants to get the best of himself and his teammates, and is hungry for success.”

Ansell has developed into one of the game’s most exciting young defenders, though injuries have limited his on-field minutes so far this season.

Nick Ansell fights for the ball with Connor Pain at a Victory training session.

After undergoing foot surgery after last season’s Grand Final, he made an encouraging return to action on January 8 this year.

He featured in seven straight matches in the Hyundai A-League and played a key role in the first three games of Victory’s AFC Champions League campaign.

Despite some soft-tissue setbacks in recent weeks, Ansell is looking forward to a positive future in the heart of the Victory defence.

“Melbourne Victory is a club I have supported since day one and dreamed about playing for, so to re-sign is a great honour,” Ansell said.

“It has been difficult not being able to help my teammates more on the field this season through injury, but I’m confident those concerns are behind me now.

“I have a lot more improving to do and I’m really excited about what the future holds for Victory.”

Before being offered a full-time playing contract with Victory, Ansell was part of the club’s youth system, having graduated from the Victorian Institute of Sport.