Sutton signs on for another two seasons

A desire to regularly play in front of Wellington Phoenix fans at Sky Stadium has convinced Sam Sutton to extend his stay with the club.

The left back has signed a two-year contract extension with the Phoenix, which will see him remain in Wellington through until to the end of the 2024/25 Isuzu UTE A-League season.

Sutton has played 28A-League matches for the Nix since making his debut shortly before Christmas in 2019, but only three of them have come in the capital.

The 20-year-old Phoenix academy graduate says he’s “enjoyed every moment” he’s had with the first team, even though they’ve been based in Australia for the past two years.

“I know we’ve been through quite a lot as a team and I think I’ve signed those extra two years to play in Wellington, because I’ve missed out on that, as we all have,” Sutton said.

“Hopefully next season especially we can get in front of the fans and have a normal season.

“Getting the chance to play at home will be massive because you can see how well we do over here when we’ve had every single problem we possibly can thrown at us.

“If we’re able to just play a normal season I think we’d be able to do some great things.”

Sutton is determined to bring some silverware to Wellington over the next three years.

“The main thing for me is to have a season where we’re winning a trophy and if that happens the personal rewards will come.

“I want to kick on and do something great with the Phoenix because over the past few years we’ve got rid of that underdog tag and now it’s making a legacy and creating history at the club.

“Hopefully I can play a part there and over the next three seasons I think we’ll definitely be able to do something like that.”

After making four appearances in the 2019/20 season, Sutton established himself as Ufuk Talay’s first-choice left back midway through the 2021 campaign, starting 10 of the Phoenix’s games during their 11-match unbeaten run.

His start to this season was disrupted by a knee injury, forcing him to sit out the Nix’s first three A-League matches, but he’s featured in all 12 since, starting 10, including the last nine.

“I’m feeling more comfortable and understanding what it takes to be a good left back,” Sutton said.

“Obviously I’m nowhere near where I want to be and these next three years will definitely help get me to that position as well as keeping an open mind and keeping that versatility where I can play in the midfield as well.”

Talay plucked Sam Sutton out of the academy in his first season in charge of the Phoenix.

“Last season we started to work with him as a left back and I think he’s grown in that role,” Talay said.

“It’s a position where it’s very hard to find players so I think he’s done a great job. He’s a young, exciting player and I think the more he plays, the more he will grow.

“He’s one of those prospects that we’re working on to get to the next level.”