The hardman defender who has spent 14 years of his career in England playing with Millwall, West Ham, Blackburn and Everton will spend the rest of the season at Vicarage Road after impressing during a week’s training with the Watford squad.

He had been a free agent since leaving J-League side Omiya Ardija and was this week linked with a move to Sydney Olympic.

“The lads have been very welcoming to me here at Watford and it’s my privilege to have signed for such a well-respected club,” he told Watford’s website. “But this is just the start as far as I’m concerned. I’m pleased to have impressed enough to have earned a contract, but now it’s very much about me knuckling down and doing what is required of me to force my way into the squad and then the starting 11.

“I know that’s not going to be easy. There is a lot of quality in this squad, players with international experience who aren’t going to want to lose their place to me, in a healthy way.”

Neill, who has 96 caps for Australia, is targeting a place in the Socceroos squad for this summer’s World Cup and has been in England since December training with former club Blackburn. Boss Ange Postecoglou warned that he would only consider players that feature regularly at club level.

The Socceroos next match is against Ecuador in London on March 5, with the squad to be announced tomorrow.

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