Big deal: Red Devils recruit Liverpool player Danny O'Donnell

BALLARAT Red Devils have landed the biggest signing in the club’s history, luring a former Liverpool player for the 2014 National Premier League Victoria season.

Danny O’Donnell, who once captained the Liverpool under-18 side, was expected to arrive in Ballarat early this morning.

The 28-year-old defender is not expected to line-up for the Reds in Saturday’s season opener against Bentleigh Greens, with official transfer papers still to be finalised.

However it is hoped he will be able to slot in as a centre-back as soon as possible.

Standing at 188-centimetres tall, the Englishman was at Liverpool between 2002 and 2007, was promoted to the senior list in 2005 and was also selected to tour with the club in the 2005 World Club World Championships in Japan.

Training with the likes of world-renowned superstars such as Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Harry Kewell and Xabi Alonso, O’Donnnell never managed to play an English Premier League match, although did play a handful of pre-season games.

He was released from Liverpool in 2007, having already spent a season on loan at third-tier club Crewe Alexander.

O’Donnell then spent time at Shrewsbury Town and Stockport County, most recently playing for Barrow in the sixth tier of the English league system, where he played as recently as Saturday.

He has signed on with the Reds for the season, which chairman Duncan Smith said was without doubt the biggest signing to ever come to the club.

The Liverpudlian fills the second visa spot allowed to each club, following last week’s announcement that former Scottish Professional Football League player Steven Thomson had signed on.

“He has played with one of the biggest clubs in the world and trained for many years with some of the best players in the world and very soon will be a Ballarat player,” Smith said.

“It doesn’t really get any bigger than that.

“He is a top quality player, a big defender and someone who will give great leadership to the team.”

The Reds’ season gets underway under lights on Saturday against Bentleigh Greens at the Kingston Heath Soccer Complex.

patrick.nolan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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