Merrick Realistic About Burns Situation


Wellington Phoenix head coach Ernie Merrick is taking a positive approach to the prospect of losing Nathan Burns to China.

While Merrick would obviously prefer to keep the A-League’s leading goal scorer, he was upbeat when quizzed by reporters after a training session at Newtown Park today.

Merrick said he was pleased that people were taking notice of his players, though he was disappointed at the way some journalists were presenting the situation.

“It is a credit to this club that we have had several players spoken about recently with interest from Africa, Europe and Asia,” Merrick said.

“We are now producing players other clubs are interested in so we are obviously doing something right.

“What is disappointing is the way the articles in Australia have been written.

“Neither of the journalists concerned have spoken to our club or Nathan about the situation, and there are so many inaccuracies in them it is incredible.

“What is really disappointing from Nathan’s point of view, and I have spoken to him about it, is that people have put words in his mouth about out clauses and him telling people he wants to leave etc.”

Merrick did confirm that the Phoenix have been dealing with a Chinese club for the past week and a half over Burns’ future.

“If the club concerned is serious about signing Nathan they will put an offer on a club letterhead and then our board will make a decision that does the right thing by the club and the player, as happened with Jeremy Brockie.

“The situation should be sorted out in the short term.”

Should Burns leave, Merrick said he had no immediate plans to add to the squad.

“I like to do due diligence on players before I sign them and that wouldn’t be possible before the transfer window closes,” he said.

“Apart from Matt Ridenton, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, everyone is fit and ready to go including Roy Krishna who is now fully fit.

“We have a great bunch of players here. We are second in the league and the under-20 players have been performing well in the reserve side.”

Check out Jason Pine’s full interview with Ernie Merrick here