Australia's World Cup hero Souttar snapped up by Leicester

Australia's World Cup run to inspire a generation (1:21)

The National Curriculum's Joshua Parish thinks the Socceroos will inspire a new generation of Australian soccer fans despite World Cup exit. (1:21)

Australia defender Harry Souttar joined Leicester City from Stoke City on Tuesday in a long-term deal that will keep him at the English Premier League club until the end of the 2027-28 season.

The 24-year-old had an outstanding World Cup in Qatar last year as Australia won two matches at a finals for the first time before losing to eventual winners Argentina in the round of 16.

The Scotland-born centre-half, who qualifies for Australia through his mother, joined second-tier Stoke from Dundee United in 2016 and played 70 times for the Potters in all competitions.

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A serious knee injury sidelined him for 12 months until the start of this season and his move to Leicester, which is still pending Premier League approval, was completed late on Tuesday evening after he underwent a medical.

"I'm delighted to join such a great football club and challenging myself in the Premier League is an opportunity that I couldn't turn down," he said in a news release.

"There are world-class facilities here and a squad full of fantastic players, so I can't wait to get started."

The fee was undisclosed but media reports said it was more than the £10 million pounds Manchester City paid Huddersfield Town for Aaron Mooy in 2017, making it the biggest transfer deal involving an Australia international.

Socceroos used to be a familiar sight in England's elite -- from Craig Johnston through to the likes of Viduka, Harry Kewell, Lucas Neill, Tim Cahill, Mark Schwarzer and Mile Jedinak. In recent years they have become more rare, though Mat Ryan had four seasons at Brighton -- where he was briefly joined by Mooy -- culminating in a spell on loan as Arsenal's back-up keeper in 2021.

There are three other Australians on the books of Premier League clubs but all have been sent out on loan. Tyrese Francois, a 22-year-old midfielder born in Campbelltown, came off the bench in the 89th minute of Fulham's 0-0 draw with Wolves in August to make his Premier League debut, but is currently with Croatian club NHK Gorica.

Olyroos midfielder Caleb Watts has played in the top-flight for Southampton, but is currently turning out for tier-three Morecambe. Garang Kuol joined Newcastle United at the start of January, but was quickly sent on loan to Scottish club Hearts.

Souttar was born in Aberdeen -- his brother John is a Scotland international -- and was capped by the country at under-17 and under-19 level. But his mother hails from Port Hedland in Western Australia and he has thrown in his lot with the Socceroos, making his debut in 2019 on his first visit down under.

The 24-year-old nearly missed out on the last year's World Cup after he tore his ACL playing for the Socceroos in November 2021, but he regained fitness just in time and produced a series of eye-catching performances as Australia reached the round of 16.

The Foxes' next match is at Aston Villa on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) with a home debut marking England captain Harry Kane on Souttar's agenda for the following weekend.

Information from Reuters and AAP was used in this story.