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Reds' club champion leaves for England

Soccer

Adelaide United playmaker Riley McGree is exiting the A-League for England’s second tier competition.

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McGree has been bought by United States’ Major League Soccer franchise Charlotte FC, which is due to enter the MLS in 2022.

The attacking midfielder has immediately been loaned to Birmingham City in the English Championship, joining a host of Reds teammates leaving Adelaide.

McGree will be joined in the championship by 19-year-old striker Lachlan Brook, who has been sold to Brentford FC.

And winger Nikola Mileusnic has signed with Danish Superliga club Randers FC.

The deals follow goalkeeper Paul Izzo’s move last week to Greek second division outfit Xanthi FC, coached by former Perth Glory manager Tony Popovic.

McGree’s loss will hit Adelaide hardest, with the 21-year-old moving after a stunning domestic season in which he claimed the Reds’ club champion award.

“My goal has always been to push myself and my football, and to have the chance to head overseas and to be doing that is very exciting,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

Adelaide’s director of football Bruce Djite said it was inevitable McGree, who returned to the A-League after a stint with Belgium’s Club Brugge, would return to Europe.

“Riley had an outstanding season last year and has been rightfully rewarded,” Djite said.

“It is always difficult when one of the club’s best talents departs and Riley will be very difficult to replace.

“However when players have hunger and desire to play at the highest level, and they get that opportunity, we as a club will always look to support them.”

-AAP

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