A-League Men's side Wellington Phoenix have signed new English defender Scott Wootton.
Wootton joins the A-League Kiwi club after more than a decade of play in England. He signed a season-long deal with Wellington Phoenix after having been allowed a release from his former side, English League One club Morecambe.
Scott Wootton signing
- The Englishman joins Wellington Phoenix after over a decade of professional play in England.
- Wootton started his career at Manchester United's academy, playing four times for the club's senior side.
- He is the second signing for Phoenix in this January transfer window.
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The Englishman is head coach Ufuk Talay's second signing in the January transfer window. At 30 years of age, his experience at centre-back will be invaluable for the young Phoenix side. Speaking upon signing, about what he can bring to Wellington, Wootton said:
"I’ll do everything I can to help the club win games.
“From the research I’ve done and people I’ve spoken to the club has got a lot of talent and obviously it’s in a difficult position at the minute and not where it wants to be.
“I hope my experience can help that, improve the team and improve the results on the pitch.
“I’m a good talker, I’m a good communicator and first and foremost that’s how I’ll try and put my stamp on the team.
“Hopefully I can bring that bit of calmness and that experience at the back to help the team.”
While this is Wootton's first experience abroad, it is not the first time the defender has been linked with the A-League side. He had previously spoken to Phoenix operational manager Shaun Gill a few years ago, but family factors ended up stopping the move.
"This time it was completely different," said Wootton when asked why the second time was the charm.
"I felt it was the perfect time. I committed pretty much straight away. We got the contract sorted pretty much within a day. It was very smooth this time.
"I have always had an ambition to play abroad, to play overseas.
"This time it is the perfect challenge, a fresh challenge. Obviously there are things I will need to overcome in terms of the weather, the different style of football.
"But one I am hugely looking forward too. I think it will suit me as well.
"I am only 30," Wootton added, "I am not coming to the A-Leagues for a holiday.
"I am hungrier than ever to succeed for a fresh challenge. It has just given me an impetus, the fire back in me belly."
Prior to his arrival in the A-League Men's, the defender had more than 200 senior games in the English Championship, League One and League Two. He has played for Transmere Rovers, Peterborough, Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Rotherham United, Milton Keynes Dons, Plymouth Argyle, Wigan, Morecambe and notably Manchester United.
Wootton is a product of Manchester United's youth academy, having played four times for Sir Alex Ferguson's side. He won the Community Shield with the Red Devils in 2013. Speaking upon signing with Phoenix, Wootton reflected on his time at his original club:
"When I look back at that really, I look back so fondly on it because of the man who actually played me (Sir Alex Ferguson), the man who gave me a chance.
"Obviously playing for Man United, the biggest club in the world. My opinion is it was such a special, amazing feeling.
"I suppose at the time you sort of go with it, try to do your best. It is probably when you come away from it that you realize that it was a great achievement.
"It is something that I will take with me forever for sure.
"It is an experience that I have used. The way that you are brought up there and the mentality, It is something I will be bringing over to New Zealand as well."
Wootton should arrive in time for the opening of the January transfer window on January 14, 2022.
Wellington confirmed yesterday that the COVID-19 outbreak expanded within their side. Their round eight A-League Men's game against Newcastle Jets was cancelled and due to the extent of the current outbreak their upcoming FFA Cup semifinal against Melbourne Victory next week.
The full A-League Men's schedule can be found using this link.