While many of his Wellington Phoenix team mates were enjoying a morning’s rest in their Dunedin hotel, new goalkeeper Tony Warner was heading to the gym with strength and conditioning coach Lee Taylor.
While many of his Wellington Phoenix team mates were enjoying a morning-s rest in their Dunedin hotel, new goalkeeper Tony Warner was heading to the gym with strength and conditioning coach Lee Taylor.
Without a pre-season behind him the Liverpool-born Warner knows he has some catching up to do and is relishing the challenge.
“I–ve always been used to hard work and I just want to get going. I will talk to LT [Taylor] and the gaffer [Ricki Herbert] about what I need to do,” Warner said.
Warner, 37, has been well travelled since starting out in professional football as a 20-year-old with Premier League giants Liverpool.
According to information on the internet Warner joined Liverpool as a 16-year-old and stayed with the club for nine years, during which he failed to break into the first team.
“That isn-t right. It is a typo but it has been on the net for years,” he said.
“I joined at 20 and was there for five years, which was a fantastic experience, but I couldn-t dislodge David James from the first team. I went out on loan to other clubs but when I turned 25 I decided I had to make a move if my career was to go anywhere.
“Even at a club like Liverpool you career can slip away if you are always on the bench. I wanted to play so when Millwall came in for me I jumped at the opportunity.”
“The move enabled me to establish myself and I was fortunate enough to play 200 games for the club.”
Playing alongside Warner at Millwall was current Phoenix star Paul Ifill, and it was through keeping in touch with Ifill that the goalkeeper became interested in the A-League.
“The A-League highlights are on TV in England now and I would watch it to see how Paul and other English players I knew were going,” he said.
“When I rang Iffy he couldn-t speak highly enough about the A League and it was obvious how much he was enjoying himself in Wellington.
“In fact I got good vibes off everyone so when I got a call a couple of weeks ago asking if I would be interested in talking to the Phoenix I jumped at the chance.
“I-d just left Tranmere Rovers and had been offered a contract at another club but it fell through.
“This is an opportunity to keep on playing at a good level.
“I believe I still have a lot to offer and my aim is to work hard and push for a place in the team.”
That began as he headed for the gym while his mates rested.