Kochi, July 28 (IANS) Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Kerala Blasters FC on Thursday announced the signing of Northern Ireland’s Aaron Hughes as the marquee player for the third edition of the football tournament later this year.

Known as a cultured defender, Hughes, 36, is the most capped outfield player in Northern Ireland’s history with 103 appearances and has captained Northern Ireland on 46 occasions after his first captaincy in April 2002.

After having played at Under-16, U-18 and ‘B’ level, his debut in international football came in March 1998 against Slovakia. He recently took part in the Euro 2016 held in France between June 10 to July 10.

A dramatic debut with Newcastle United FC at the age of 18 in 1997 led to 278 appearances for the Magpies before moving to Aston Villa FC for two seasons.

This was followed by a very successful seven years at Fulham and later brief stints with Queens Park Rangers, Brighton and Hove Albion and Melbourne City.

Kerala head coach Steve Coppell said, “Aaron Hughes as a marquee player will bring a wealth of experience, he will also mentor the players. I am looking forward to working with him.”

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