Five Nix men named to A-League All Stars

The Wellington Phoenix are the most represented club in the 2024 A-League All Stars men.

Five of the final 21-strong squad named for Friday night’s match Newcastle United at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne are Phoenix players.

Goalkeeper Alex Paulsen, defenders Tim Payne and Scott Wootton, and midfielders Ben Old and Bozhidar Kraev have been added to All Stars squad in recognition of their roles in Wellington’s record-breaking Isuzu UTE A-League season.

Paulsen enjoyed a breakout season in goal for the Nix, playing every minute of their A-League campaign and keeping 12 clean sheets. He also sensationally saved three penalties.

Wootton marshalled the Phoenix’s defence and was the only other player not to miss a minute of the team’s 29 matches.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 18: Alexander Paulsen and Scott Wootton of the Phoenix celebrate victory during the A-League Men round eight match between Macarthur FC and Wellington Phoenix at Campbelltown Stadium, on December 18, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

His centre back partner during the 2022-23 A-League, Payne, moved to fullback this season and was a revelation, scoring three goals and leading the team with four assists.

Old also contributed four assists as well as scoring five goals in what was his best A-League season, while Kraev found the back of the net six times and supplied two assists in his second year in Wellington.

“This squad is a fantastic mix of the best talent across the A-Leagues, including seven under-23s and four internationals,” A-League All Stars men head coach Patrick Kisnorbo said.

“We now have four days to prepare and work hard together.

“This is an opportunity for all our A-League players to test themselves against a formidable team. The whole squad is excited to play a team from the best league in the world.”

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – NOVEMBER 04: Bozhidar Kraev of the Phoenix celebrates with Ben Old after scoring a goal during the A-League Men round three match between Wellington Phoenix and Brisbane Roar at Sky Stadium, on November 04, 2023, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The five Phoenix players will assemble with the All Stars squad in Melbourne tomorrow (Tuesday) and will join Tottenham Hotspur for an open training session at AAMI Park that evening.

The men’s match against Newcastle United is the first of a Global Football Week double-header at Marvel Stadium.

Nix fullback Michaela Foster and the A-League All Stars women will play Women’s Super League heavyweights Arsenal in the second match at Marvel Stadium later on Friday night after both sides hold an open training session at AAMI Park on Thursday evening.

Tickets for the opening training sessions and matches during Global Football week are available here.

A-League All Stars men’s squad:
Lawrence Thomas (Western Sydney Wanderers), Alex Paulsen (Wellington Phoenix), Kai Trewin (Brisbane Roar), Marcelo (Western Sydney Wanderers), Ben Garuccio (Western United), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), Jordan Courtney-Perkins (Sydney FC), Scott Wootton (Wellington Phoenix), Tim Payne (Wellington Phoenix), Jay O’Shea (Brisbane Roar), Jake Hollman (Macarthur FC), Tolgay Arslan (Melbourne City), Angus Thurgate (Western United), Luke Brattan (Sydney FC), Bozhidar Kraev (Wellington Phoenix), Ben Old (Wellington Phoenix), Nestory Irankunda (Adelaide United), Mathew Leckie (Melbourne City), Apostolos Stamatelopoulos (Newcastle Jets), Adam Taggart (Perth Glory), Nicolas Milanovic (Western Sydney Wanderers).