Wellington Phoenix have added a trio of players to their current squad, bolstering Ufuk Talay's playing group to twenty-four players.
The A-League Men's schedule for this 2021-22 season has caused particular problems for Wellington Phoenix. For the second season in a row the club was scheduled to start their regular season campaign entirely in Australia.
Wellington Phoenix Roster Additions
- Oskar Van Hattum, Jackson Manuel & Finn Surman have been called-up to the senior side.
- The trio of academy players increases the Wellington men's squad to twenty four players.
- The addition was deemed necessary ahead of what could be a brutal schedule for Phoenix.
The full Wellington Phoenix roster can be found on their website.
The 2021-22 A-League Men's season required Wellington to move its training personnel and players to New South Wales in late October for what was expected to be a minimum two month stay. Pre-season training was also disrupted by players stuck abroad and originally separated in Australia.
Head Coach Ufuk Talay spoke often of the difficulties this added to recruitment and retainment of players, with the club's captain Steven Taylor ultimately choosing to retire instead of spending another extended stay away from family.
Whilst Talay has reiterated on a number of occasions his intention to go to the transfer market in January, he has chosen to add three academy players to his current squad to bolster the number of players available to twenty-four.
Nineteen-year-old Young All White Oskar van Hattum and eighteen-year-olds Jackson Manuel and Finn Surman have all become part of this year's A-League Men's squad after being called up. All have previous experience in the New Zealand Premiership.
With this trio Talay adds a striker in Van Hattum, a defensive midfielder in Manuel and a defender in Surman to his side. The additions may become crucial. Wellington could play as much as thirteen matches in the next seven and a half weeks.
Speaking of this addition to the team Talay said:
“With the experiences we’ve had in previous seasons, we’ve realised that with an FFA Cup match coming up and a short turnaround we need some extra bodies.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to bring them over and get them involved in the first team as we see huge potential in them,.
“Their season is finishing this weekend anyway so it’s also an opportunity to get them some football.”
The club expressed particular pride in the new trio's addition. At present nearly half of the twenty-four member team has progressed through the ranks of Phoenix's academy. This new era of Kiwi football is celebrated by academy technical director Paul Temple:
“There are 11 academy graduates in this season’s squad now which shows the pathway is working and our club buys into the youth development that is happening,” Temple said.
“It’s a good message to all our academy players as well. Be prepared, be ready, be professional because there is always someone watching and when opportunities come along you want to be in a position to take them.”
Wellington Phoenix men's next match is this Friday against Western Sydney Wanderers. It is a double header after the A-League Women's debut of their women's side also against Wanderers.
The full A-League Men's schedule can be found using this link.