The Wellington Phoenix are pleased to announce that 22-year-old defender and current Olympian Callan Elliot will return to the Club on a two-year contract, re-uniting him with the Nix through the 2022/23 season.
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I’ve definitely grown as a player – it’s a lot different of an environment in Greece, it can be very cut-throat and everyone wants to take your position – but I’ve learnt a lot over there and I can’t wait to show what I’ve learnt when I’m back with the Nix.
Scotland-born Elliot began his career at Tasman United, playing 24 matches for the Phoenix Reserves before signing his first professional contract with the Phoenix in October 2018 and appearing for the Club nine times over two seasons.
During the 2019/20 season, Elliot made four starts for the Phoenix during the A-League’s season re-start and Elimination final and impressed with his strong play during this time – earning himself a contract at Greek Club Xanthi FC for their 2020/21 season.
Elliot has also made 15 appearances for the New Zealand national team, and is currently a member of the OlyWhites football squad at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – starting at right back in last night’s nil-all draw against Romania and helping them to secure a historic Quarter-finals berth.
Wellington Phoenix head coach, Ufuk Talay, says that Elliot is a talented footballer who can help the team win games next season.
“Callan played well for us in my first season with the Club and although we wanted to keep him on, we also recognised that securing a contract overseas was a good way for him to continue his growth as both a football player and a person,” says Talay.
“We welcome Callan back for the 2020/21 season and look forward to what he brings to the table – he’s young and can play multiple positions so we see a lot of opportunity for him over the next two years.”
Speaking from Tokyo, Elliot says he is looking forward to his return to New Zealand and the Phoenix following his stint overseas in Greece.
“I’m very excited to be returning, I enjoyed my two seasons with the Phoenix and I’m just excited to get back, see all the boys and just get stuck into the pre-season,” says Elliot.
“It’s been good to be with some of the Phoenix boys over here in Tokyo, I’ve been rooming with Waino which is great; and catching up with Sutts, Clayton and all those guys has been good fun.”
Elliot believes he is returning to the Club as a better player and is keen to contribute.
“I’ve definitely grown as a player – it’s a lot different of an environment in Greece, it can be very cut-throat and everyone wants to take your position – but I’ve learnt a lot over there and I can’t wait to show what I’ve learnt when I’m back with the Nix.
“Obviously for me I’m coming back, I want to make that right back spot my own and I’ll be doing everything I can to build on where I left things off last time I was there. Uffy is a great coach and I enjoyed playing under him last time, so I’m keen to get back to that style of football and hopefully we can do well as a team this coming season.
“And it’s going to be great coming back to Wellington, it’s been a long time since I was able to play at home in front of the fans, friends and family – that’s something that’s hard to beat so I’m looking forward to that.
Elliot says that his time in Tokyo with the OlyWhites has presented a chance for him to play with – and learn from – some of the top performers in New Zealand football while on the world stage.
“It’s been an amazing experience so far, especially since we’ve got two Premier League players in the squad so it’s been awesome to learn off of them, especially being a defender – watching Winnie [Winston Reid] and how he plays, just learning off him has been huge.
“The trainings have been very intense so I’ve been learning lots, overall it’s been a good experience – and now we’re in the knockout stage so it’s humbling to be part of New Zealand football history.”
Elliot is planning to join up with the Phoenix squad in Wellington at the conclusion of his duties at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which will require him to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine process alongside his Nix teammates.
The Wellington Phoenix roster for the 2021/22 A-League season now stands at 15 players.