After a frustrating six-week rehabilitation from a hamstring injury Wellington Phoenix defender Tom Doyle finally had something to smile about at the weekend.
Not only was he back in his favourite left-back position but he had also signed a two-year extension on his contract.
“It has been a frustrating time because when you are out for a while you realise how much you miss playing,” Doyle said.
“Besides not playing there was also the uncertainty surrounding my future.
“I had four months left on my contract and was sitting there watching and not knowing when I might get back in.
“It was a great relief that the club saw the potential I have to fill that left back squad for the next two years.
“It is a good feeling to know that they have faith in me.
“While I was out Adam (Parkhouse) played his first 11 A-League games in a position he has probably never played in his life and did really well for the team, but now he can get back where he loves playing and hopefully we can combine down that left flank.”
It isn’t just on the field that Doyle believes the Phoenix have shown faith in him.
When he arrived at the club he had a reputation for being a ‘jack the lad’ and he says that stage of his life is behind him.
“The Phoenix have helped me develop from an immature boy to a responsible person,” he says.
“Being part of the leadership group has helped and having those boys in your ear, especially the likes of Dura and Mossy, has helped a lot.
“I should also mention Mikey McGlinchey who was injured at the same time as me and had the experience to keep my spirits up.”