Everything on the up for Diego

LIFE’S good for Wellington Phoenix playmaker Diego Walsh at the moment and he’s confident things will get even better.

LIFE-S good for Wellington Phoenix playmaker Diego Walsh at the moment and he-s confident things will get even better.

Diego started in his first Hyundai A-League 2009/10 match of the season for the Phoenix on Sunday, turning in a solid 73 minutes in the Phoenix-s 2-1 win against Perth Glory at Westpac Stadium.

“I think I did reasonably well against Perth considering I haven-t really taken much of a part in pre-season,” the 29-year-old attacking midfielder said, referring to a buildup interrupted by surgery to correct a sinus problem and a problem with an inflamed gall bladder that saw him return home early from the Phoenix-s tour to China in July.

“I-m probably still not in top game shape, so I-ll keep working on my fitness and things will get better.”

After two seasons disrupted by injury with Adelaide United, Diego is happy that he-s finally close to his physical optimum in Wellington.

“Physically I-m fine. I haven-t had any major problems since I-ve been here in Wellington and I-m confident about how the body is feeling for the first time in a long time.”

With Diego pulling the strings behind strike men Paul Ifill, Chris Greenacre and Leo Bertos against Perth, the Phoenix had a real creative attacking edge.

“We had some nice combinations during the game,” Diego said. “Paul looked lively on the left side and Leo, too, on the right. On the whole it seemed the balance was there and it worked well, but only time will tell how things will develop during the season.”

The next test of the exciting combination could come against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

“I think I-ll get better with each game and the combinations will grow and develop. I need to be trying to score goals, set up assists and be more aggressive. As my fitness improves, that will come. And it-s not only about attacking. I can-t sit back when we-re not on the ball and catch my breath, I have to pick up the opposition-s defensive midfield, track back and do my job on defence.”

Suncorp hasn-t been the happiest hunting ground for the Phoenix in past seasons but Diego says the performance against Perth has lifted confidence levels in the camp.

“I think we-ll be able to do well. We just have to go there with the game plan locked in our minds, stick to it and take our chances. No team is unbeatable and I think we-ll have our chances to win the game.”

While things are going well on the field, the Brazilian is also planning some changes off it, having applied to become a New Zealand resident. Diego-s Brazilian compatriot Daniel has already switched international camps, becoming a fully-fledged Kiwi last year.

“I enjoy being here,” Diego said. “I-m on a two-year contract, so why not stay longer? Everyone in Wellington has been really welcoming, my teammates are excellent and the club has been great to me. I have nothing but good things to say about the city and the whole organisation.”