Manny Muscat re-signs with Phoenix

Last updated 12:50 27/12/2013
manny muscat
FAIRFAX NZ
STAYING ON: Manny Muscat training at Newtown Park with the Phoenix.

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The versatile Manny Muscat has re-signed with the Wellington Phoenix for two more years.

Muscat, who is in his sixth season with the Phoenix, had interest from Australian A-League clubs but said it was an easy decision to stay put.

"I am happy here and grateful for the chance the Phoenix gave me and for everything they have done for me over the last five years," Muscat said.

"The arrival of Ernie Merrick also made the decision easy as he has been a breath of fresh air."

Muscat, 29, started the season in midfield but is now doing a solid job at left back.

"I am happy to play anywhere if it helps us get results," he said.

"The move has been made possible by the way Albert [Riera] is playing. He has come in and done a great job and I think me moving to left back has helped balance the team."

Merrick was delighted to retain one of the club's best and most consistent players.

"This team has a number of leaders from the front and Manny is one of those," Merrick said.

"He doesn't take a step back from anything, and has the ability to predict play, to anticipate and to make crucial tackles. Manny rarely comes out of a 50-50 challenge without the ball. He also picks his time to go forward and set up chances for the strikers. Manny is important for the future of the club.

"We have now got a number of young players and he is one of the leadership group that will help them become first-team players. There is no doubt about Manny's character and commitment to the club and I can even see him staying for the next four years."

The ninth-placed Phoenix play last-placed Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park in Melbourne tonight.

"We haven't had the results we deserve from most games this season and it was good to get a win on Sunday [against Sydney FC]," Muscat said.

"Now we have to back it up with a win tonight... If we keep playing the way we have been the results will come."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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