Youngsters keen to impress Phoenix
Thu, 16 Aug 2012 6:57p.m.
By Andrew Gourdie
A number of young players are eager to impress at the Wellington Phoenix.
The team leaves tomorrow for a five-match pre-season tour of Australia and India, and it's the last chance for the club's academy players to secure a contract.
The level of talent among the Phoenix's 'School of Excellence' is making it tough for the coach to decide which of the nine youngsters will earn a full-time contract.
"We've got a good group, probably a couple at this stage," says Ricki Herbert. "I won't say who."
Herbert's not giving much away, but senior star Paul Ifill is more forthcoming. "Louis Fenton and Tyler Boyd, they've both been excellent," he says. "I think you've hopefully got a couple of internationals in years to come here."
A 19-year-old attacking midfielder, Fenton's been tipped to fill one of the club's under-21 spots since the School Of Excellence was established in June.
Striker Boyd's the youngest of the group at 17, but has started alongside Ifill in two of the club's pre-season games. He scored four goals against Miramar on Tuesday night.
"These games coming up in Australia and India will be a bit of a test of where people like him are at and whether he's ready to step up to A-League level," says Ifill.
He says he's told Herbery to "sign 'em up quick before somebody else does across the ditch".
While the youngsters will provide valuable squad cover, the makeup of the starting 11 is becoming clearer. New signing Jeremy Brockie will start at right midfield, with established veteran Leo Bertos set for a career move to right fullback.
The only piece missing now is a top international striker, which the club hopes to sign by the end of the tour.
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16/08/2012 7:53:34 p.m.
I wanna hear more about this international striker :D
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