FORMER Manchester United defender John Curtis has returned to Gold Coast United after a two-week break in England and has signed a one-year deal with Miron Bleiberg's side.
Curtis impressed in his fortnight-long training stint with the club last month and agreed terms with Gold Coast before jetting back to his homeland to tie up some loose ends and finalise his personal arrangements.
The 31-year-old holds an impressive football pedigree and outstanding credentials that includes not only his stint under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, but also promotion to the English Premier League with Blackburn Rovers in 2000/01 and a League Cup winner's medal with the same side a season later.
A delighted Bleiberg said the signature of Curtis was a coup for United and signalled a happy ending to his search for a specialist right full-back.
"John impressed everyone with his skill, agility and attitude during his short time with us last month," Bleiberg said.
"He is a quality player with a great pedigree and will be a big asset to us. His experience and knowledge will not only boost the team as a whole, but will also be a huge benefit to our younger players.
"We're delighted that he has agreed to join us and I'm sure he will be a big success here.
"John is a specialist in the right full-back position and that's exactly what we've been looking for. He also has a sharp football brain and can adjust very well if we need to alter our tactics during a game.
"I felt last season we were missing someone who was a natural right full-back. After watching him work I am confident that we have now found the right player to fill that role for us."
Having only arrived back in Australia on Monday morning, United's new signing will not travel with the squad for this weekend's pre-season outing against Perth Glory, Bleiberg preferring his new man to have a few more days to settle into life in his new surroundings.
But the unassuming Curtis was keen to get down to business as soon as possible and began training with the squad just 24 hours after touching down.
"I'm still getting over the jetlag again and adjusting my sleeping patterns, but overall I feel pretty good and I'm enjoying the training," Curtis said.
"Everyone has been great with me and made me feel very welcome and very at home. The lads are just brilliant and have all been giving me stick, so I guess that's a good sign," he laughed.
"When I first came here in May I had a fantastic time and was really impressed with the manager, the coaching staff and the players.
"The football side of everything has been first class and the club is situated in a fantastic part of the world.
"I didn't know much about the Hyundai A-League before I came here so I had an open mind. It's certainly a style of football that is more suited to the purists of the game and has what you could term a ‘continental' element to it.
"There's lots of passing and movement and it's a lot less direct than some of the UK leagues. I'm looking forward to playing in a different competition with a different style of football. Hopefully that will suit me and I can do a good job for the team."