All Whites legend Wynton Rufer has applied for the vacant Wellington Phoenix coaching position.
The Oceania footballer of the 20th century told The Dominion Post he had thrown his hat in the ring to replace Ricki Herbert but would not comment on whether he had been interviewed or shortlisted.
The Phoenix hope to make an announcement by the end of the month but regardless of whether he got the gig, Rufer hoped to work with the A-League club in some capacity.
"I've always been a big fan of the Phoenix, I'm here for football and we've got to try and help each other," Rufer said.
That relationship has already been rekindled, with Rufer facilitating a two-week training stint for Louis Fenton and Tyler Boyd at Werder Bremen. The Phoenix youngsters fly out for Germany today and will also play in Rufer's WYNRS team at next month's Fifa Youth Cup.
"I've been talking to [Phoenix co-owner] Gareth Morgan for a while actually, about the boys coming. To sweeten the whole thing I said I'd get them a couple of weeks training at Werder Bremen. You could call it a trial because if they have a good showing, it's pretty obvious the club's going to come back and say ‘hey Wynton, we like what we saw, can we get to see them again or what's the contract situation?' "
Rufer said he had also facilitated Stuttgart's offer for young All Whites star Marco Rojas, who is bound for Europe after leaving Melbourne Victory.
Rufer said he had been involved in discussing a scenario where Rojas would sign with Stuttgart but then get loaned back to the Victory next season to continue his development.
Rufer was thrilled with the rise of former Phoenix winger Rojas, who was judged the A-League's player of the year at an awards ceremony on Monday.
But he believed he would have been better served delaying his move.
"He had a great season for sure but it's about consistency," Rufer said. "Marco got the player of the year award but if we're brutally honest, the final part of the season, he didn't play so well. But this is the first time he's played under the new coaching staff there, with Ange Postecoglou, who's really positive, so I think it's best for him to stay for another year."
- © Fairfax NZ News