Jets swoop for Zadkovich
© AFP

Versatile midfielder Ruben Zadkovich has signed a three-year contract with Newcastle Jets following his release from Derby County in January.

The 23-year-old progressed through the ranks of English clubs QPR and Notts County as a teenager and represented Australia at both Under-20 and Under-23 levels, scoring his team's only goal at the 2008 Olympic Games.

He returned to Australia for an extended spell with Sydney before signing a two-year contract with Derby in 2008.

Zadkovich made seven appearances during his debut season, but has not featured for the first team since Nigel Clough replaced Paul Jewell as manager in January last year.

With his deal set to expire at the end of the season, his Rams contract was cancelled by mutual consent and he is now relishing his new challenge.

"It was a good opportunity. It's a good, solid team and it's a great place, Newcastle, and I've worked with (coach) Branko (Culina) before so I know what to expect, so I'm really happy," said Zadkovich.

"It's just good to have that security to put pen to paper with a team that has been doing very well. They had a good season last year and I feel like I can add something, so I'm looking forward to joining the team for as long as possible.

"I've gained a lot being overseas. It's a different ball game over there, very competitive. For the fans it's more like a religion over there, but I learned a lot and played with a lot of good players. Hopefully I can bring some of that experience back."

The signing comes less than a week after New Zealand international Jeremy Brockie penned a two-year deal with the Jets, who were A-League champions in 2008 and finished sixth last season before losing in the play-offs.

Zadkovich has one Australia cap to his name after playing against China in June 2008 at the start of the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.

"I had a small taste of being in Socceroo camps and playing in that game against China in Sydney, and that was a brilliant experience," he added. "So I definitely have goals to get back into that squad but for now it's just one step at a time and focusing on being at Newcastle."