BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Former England and Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler is returning to Australian football's A-League as coach of the Brisbane Roar.
Fowler, 44, had two stints in the league as a player, for now-defunct North Queensland in 2010 and Perth in 2011.
He was briefly player-coach of the Thai club Muangthong United but his new appointment, announced on Tuesday by Brisbane, is his first major step toward a coaching career.
Fowler said he was determined to apply for the coaching role as soon as it became available.
"Why not? For me it's a massive opportunity, coming over here, coaching a top club in a country I've always loved," he said.
"I've worked hard getting this job. I wanted people to take me seriously. That's why I went down the route of doing all the (coaching) badges, because I know people would take me serious then.
"Don't get me wrong I've been wanting to do this for a long time ... I think I've shown people how passionate and committed I am."
Brisbane chief executive David Pourre said Fowler's previous A-League experience was a factor in his appointment.
"His insatiable hunger to succeed was clearly a standout against any other candidate as well," Pourre said. "For the club, I think it's a great day."
Fowler was reportedly chosen from among 100 candidates for the head-coach position vacated by former Australia striker John Aloisi, who resigned in late December.
His first task will be to rebuild Brisbane which is currently ninth with one round remaining in the 10-team A-League, with only four wins from 26 games. They were beaten 6-1 by seventh-placed Newcastle in their most-recent match.
Veteran captain Matt McKay has announced his is retiring at the end of the regular season while Brazil-born midfielder Henrique is also not returning next year.
French midfielder Eric Bautheac is off-contract and expected to join the Melbourne Victory next season.
Interim coach Darren Davies will guide Brisbane in its final match of the season against Adelaide and will remain as an assistant to Fowler who will take over immediately afterwards.
Fowler played 369 matches for Liverpool, scoring 183 goals in two stints between 1993 and 2007. He also played for Leeds United, Cardiff City and Blackburn Rovers before his first stint in the A-League.
He played for England 26 times, scoring seven goals and was a member of its 2002 World Cup squad.
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