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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

La Rocca extends Wanderers contract

Western Sydney Wanderers defender Iacopo La Rocca has signed a two-year contract extension with the A-League club.

La Rocca, 28, will remain in Parramatta until the end of the 2014/15 season, becoming the eighth player to re-sign with the high-flying Wanderers along with Mateo Poljak, Shannon Cole, Adam D'Apuzzo, Ante Covic, captain Michael Beauchamp, Jerome Polenz and Youssouf Hersi.

The Italian, who has proved versatile for the Wanderers in both defence and midfield, is the only of those players to receive a two-year deal as Tony Popovic continues to build his side in their inaugural season.

"Iacopo is very good on the ball and his distribution is a real asset of his and we feel that he can help us move forward in the near term and the long term," Popovic said. "He is a quality player and a quality person and we feel that he will only get better and better.

"Iacopo is a very good age for a central midfield defensive player and he should be coming into his own physically and mentally and we feel it is the right decision to give him two more years with us. He is very comfortable on the ball and he reads the game very well.

"Once he gets his fitness up I think we will see the qualities he possesses on a more regular basis and we feel that there is a lot of improvement left in him."

The Wanderers sit in third place, all but assured of a place in the finals, and La Rocca admits that success and the influence of Popovic made his decision easy.

"I re-signed because everything here in Australia and with the Wanderers is great," he said. "The team is one of the best in the league and the club is very professional and I really feel like I am fitting in well.

"The coach is very professional you know. If you do not train hard and do everything right, then you don't play and I like this. He is very direct and if he thinks something is no good then he says it to your face and I like this too."

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