Hernandez Lands And Is Raring To Go


Costa Rican international Carlos Hernandez finally touched down in Wellington today after a series of false starts due to visa problems.

Just when it seemed all hurdles in that area had been successfully negotiated Hernandez, who was booked to fly from Los Angeles to Wellington via Brisbane, was told his visa didn-t cover a transit stop in Queensland.

That meant another 10-hour airport wait before boarding a flight to Auckland and then Wellington.

Asked about his travel a smiling Hernandez simply rolled his eyes and said: “very tiring”.

Within minutes however he was at the Phoenix- Newtown Park training complex meeting his new team mates and charming everyone he came in contact with.

Phoenix head coach Ernie Merrick, who was in charge of Hernandez during his time at Melbourne Victory where he won the Johnny Warren medal for best player in the Hyundai A-League in the 2009-2010 season, watched with amusement.

Asked if he was ready for an “Ernie” pre-season Hernandez said the most important thing was to be ready for the start of the season.

“That-s why Carlos comes with a different mentality. He-s come to show that he-s back,” he said.

“It is important for me to start training and getting fit to help the team.”

Asked if he felt the pressure of being one of the Phoenix- biggest ever signings Hernandez said: “As an international player you always feel pressure, but I am here to do a job and help get Wellington into the finals.”

Hernandez, who scored 28 goals in 80 appearances for Melbourne Victory and has just finished a season with Prayag United in India, said he was pleased to be back in the A-League.

Asked how he thought Victory fans would react to him when the Phoenix played in Melbourne, Hernandez shrugged.

“I don-t know what to expect but I do know that when I left Melbourne the fans were behind me,” he said.

“Rather than be angry I think they might be happy that Carlos is back in the A-League.”

Hernandez will train with the team for the first time on Wednesday before undergoing fitness assessment the following day.