Louis Fenton will be with the Wellington Phoenix till at least the end of the 2015-16 season after signing a one-year extension to his contract this week.
Fenton, 21, said he was delighted to sign the extension and continue to work with coach Ernie Merrick after an injury-hit 2013-14 season.
“I want to keep on improving and establish myself in the A-League and I believe Ernie is the coach who can help me do that,” Fenton said.
“Ernie is always trying to improve me and I am learning all the time.
“When I came here I could probably only play one position, but I think I can now put my hand up to play anywhere.
“I would love to play striker because that is where I started out and, like every footballer, I like to score goals.”
That was obvious from Fenton’s celebrations when he scored on his debut against Sydney FC when he got on the end of a Manny Muscat cross to score with a diving header.
Merrick described Fenton’s re-signing as “a sensible career decision”.
“He has done the right thing by having another season here and not just jumping on a plane and going overseas thinking he is ready,” the coach said.
“I’m confident he will eventually be ready and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he does end up playing in Europe.”
Despite a serious shoulder injury hampering his game time last season Merrick has been impressed with Fenton’s development.
“Louis has come a long way in the last 12 months,” he said.
“He now has a range of skills that allow him to play defensively, creatively in midfield as well as up front in goal scoring areas.
“No longer does he play with his head down. He now has it up and looks for the forward pass before going off on a dribble.
“It won’t be long before he is back in the All Whites and is pushing hard for a place in the starting XI at the Phoenix.
“That won’t be easy with the arrival of some fantastic new players but if he continues as he has done you never know what might happen.”