Bonevacia ready to Roly at Wellington Phoenix

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 15/08/2014
Roly Bonevacia
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
A NEW LIFE: Wellington Phoenix's Dutch recruit Roly Bonevacia with wife Milou and one-year-old daughter Ivy-Mae

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Roly Bonevacia has packed a lot into his 22 years.

Married to Milou, the couple have a 13-month-old daughter, Ivy-Mae, while the new Wellington Phoenix recruit also has a decade of precious footballing education under his belt from Ajax.

The Amsterdam club prides itself on producing technical and flexible players, and Bonevacia fits the bill.

Predominantly a midfielder, Bonevacia is also comfortable at centre back and fullback but most importantly already feels at home in Wellington after yesterday's first training session.

"It's a perfect place to live and to play," he replied when asked why he'd chosen the Phoenix over offers from the likes of Scottish Premier League club Kilmarnock.

"I came here to try something new to improve myself. Kilmarnock is a good club but ... for me it was a good choice to come and play here. I heard there's always a lot of wind but the Dutch people said that it's a good life, perfect, and the people are nice."

Bonevacia has represented the Netherlands at under-17 and under-19 level so he is clearly no mug.

He played one senior game for Ajax, under Martin Jol in 2010, but his first-team appearances dried up when the manager resigned to join Fulham.

Bonevacia has since played 17 Dutch Eredivisie games for NAC Breda and 39 for Ivan Vicelich's old club, Roda JC.

"I'm a dynamic player, good pass, strong in defence and attack. I'm an all-round player."

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick agrees.

"Roly Bonevacia, for his first session in several weeks, was first-class," Merrick said.

"Really happy with the way he's fitted in already."

Bonevacia's arrival means that, even with Michael McGlinchey remaining in limbo, Merrick's midfield stocks are fair overflowing compared to season.

Albert Riera will be the holding midfielder in Merrick's preferred 4-3-3 system, with Bonevacia joining Alex Rodriguez, Nathan Burns, Vince Lia, Louis Fenton, Tyler Boyd, Matthew Ridenton, Alex Rufer and, potentially, McGlinchey as more attacking options.

"I always feel that if you control the middle of the field, you control a game," Merrick said.

"You're not always guaranteed to win it but you've got the best chance of winning it if you control the midfield. I only like one defensive midfielder but when we need other players dropping in, Rodriguez is good at doing that. But he's also good at getting forward, box-to-box style."

A spokesman for Professional Footballers Australia said they were hopeful of a decision over McGlinchey's contractual dispute being reached this week but there were no guarantees.

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It is believed that arbitration between the Phoenix and Central Coast Mariners has concluded and Football Federation Australia is now deliberating.

Merrick said he was not aware of any developments and was unsure if McGlinchey would be allowed to take the field for a New Zealand select XI against the Phoenix in Taupo on Sunday.

McGlinchey aside, eight Phoenix players have been named in the New Zealand XI: Glen Moss, Louis Fenton, Michael Boxall, Andrew Durante, Matthew Ridenton, Alex Rufer, Tyler Boyd and Jeremy Brockie.

"I said to Neil Emblen: Choose the players you want to take and I'll take the rest. I should imagine [new All Whites] Anthony Hudson will be there as well which is ideal for him to have a good look at the players in this country. I know that we'll get the chance to talk up in Taupo. I think it's a good appointment and I think it will all work well."

- The Dominion Post

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