New Wellington Phoenix head coach Giancarlo Italiano has found his right-hand man.
Adam Griffiths has been appointed the men’s assistant coach for the next two Isuzu UTE A-League seasons.
The former Socceroos defender was the lead assistant at Western Sydney Wanderers during the 2022-23 A-League, after two seasons in charge of Manly United in New South Wales’ National Premier Leagues competition.
Before embarking on his coaching career Griffiths was a professional footballer for more than a decade, playing in Belgium, England, Saudi Arabia, China and Malaysia as well as Australia, where he won the A-League with Newcastle Jets in 2008.
“I’m really excited to work with Adam because I think he’s going to be a valuable asset for us,” Italiano said.
“He’s a good coach with a logical head. He puts a lot of thought into his coaching, and he’s got a really good process.
“When he had his own team at Manly he did very well and was unlucky not to win the NPL title last year.
“That experience of being his own coach and also assisting makes him the perfect candidate to come and help me and have a large contribution in what we have planned for the coming season.
“We’re lucky to have him and I know he’s going to do well for us.”
Under Griffiths’ guidance Western Sydney had the best defensive record in the league last season, conceding just 27 goals in 26 matches – 18 fewer than the Phoenix.
“I know where my strengths and weaknesses are and Adam has some strengths, especially on the defensive side of the game that can really benefit our team throughout the season,” Italiano said.
“His experience as a defender and as an ex-pro will help our young defenders and the way we want to play defensively.”
The 2022 NSW NPL coach of the year believes he can help sure up the Nix at the back.
“It’s an area which is one of my strengths,” Griffiths said. “I’m very confident in helping the team improve in that area.
“My role as the Wanderers assistant coach was to design and implement training sessions and really work closely on defensive structure and organisation.
“But it’s a collective responsibility. I’ll be following Giancarlo’s lead and we’ll be working closely together to make Wellington fly.
“We’ll also try to implement a fast, one touch style of football with an entertaining and attacking mindset.”
Adam Griffiths will arrive in Wellington before the start of pre-season on Monday, July 3 but has already “had some long, deep conversations” with Italiano.
“As soon as we met we started talking about football. Straight away we started discussing style of play and how we love to play entertaining football.
“Immediately I could feel there was a really good connection.
“We’re aligned in terms of our football philosophy and culture. I believe that collaboration will put us in a really good place this season.”