Former Sunderland reserve team midfielder Alejandro Gorrin arrived in Wellington on Thursday eager to start work when Phoenix pre-season training begins on Monday.
The 20-year-old Spaniard, who prefers to be called Alex, finished his contract with Sunderland a month ago, took a few days off in his home town of Tenerife, and then headed for the gym so that he would be in good shape when he arrived in New Zealand.
Gorrin, who captained the Premier League club-s reserve side, said he was looking forward to playing in the A-League.
“I know it is a fast, good league with technically good players,” he said.
It was reported in England that championship clubs were keen to take Gorrin on, so how did he decide on the Phoenix?
“There were a few teams showing interest in me but I was surprised and excited when the Phoenix approached me,” he said.
“They showed a lot of interest from the start and made it plain they were keen to have me in the club.
“I really enjoyed my time at Sunderland and learnt a lot football wise, but now I just want to do my best at the Phoenix.
“I want to become an important part of the team and I will put in a lot of hard work to make that happen.”
Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick said he was delighted to sign Gorrin who was just the type of player the club was looking for.
“He isn-t the finished article but was knocking on the first team door at Sunderland,” Merrick said.
“Twenty year olds aren-t going to break into the Premier League too often, especially when a team is fighting against relegation as Sunderland was last season.
“We want players who can grow with the club and Alex fits into that category.”