Wootton secures new three year deal

Scott Wootton has earned a new three-year contract with the Wellington Phoenix, having impressed in his first seven matches for the club.

The experienced defender joined the Phoenix in January on a short-term deal for the remainder of the 2021/22 Isuzu UTE A-League season and has quickly established himself as an integral member of Ufuk Talay’s starting XI.

The Nix were unbeaten in the first five matches Wootton played in and, with the talkative Englishman at the heart of Wellington’s back four, they have recorded their first clean sheets of the A-League season.

“I think we can all see Scott’s impact since he’s come into the squad,” Talay said. “He’s been a leader in our backline which has helped us get the results that we didn’t get previously.

“He’s got a wealth of experience from playing overseas and I think that’s what we were lacking at the start of the season.

“He’s a great age as well and I think he’s going to be a good prospect for us moving forward.”

The 30-year-old has filled the void left by former captain Steven Taylor.

“I see myself as a similar sort of character or personality to him,” Wootton said. “I think my attributes probably suit the attributes of the league and the team, and it just seems to have worked.”

As soon as he joined the Phoenix, Wootton knew the club was the right fit for him.

“When I came here obviously I didn’t just want to come for the end of the season, I wanted to stay.

“I knew very, very quickly after being here with the squad, seeing the quality and how things are done over here that I wanted to stay for as long as possible, so for the club to commit to me for the next three years is something I’m chuffed to bits with.”

He is also “grateful for the faith shown” by Talay and operations manager Shaun Gill.

“I’m really looking forward to paying that faith back and giving my all for the club over the next three years every day at training and in every game.

“As a player that’s how you repay the faith shown in you, keep the standards high every day and see the team and the club progress.

“I want to help the young players in that period as well because we’ve got some good young players at the club.”

The Phoenix have been based in Sydney since Wootton joined the club and as a result the centre back has yet to set foot in Wellington. But he is looking forward to making the capital his home.

“There’s talk of us getting back before the end of the season for a few games, which would be great.

“It’d be great to play at Sky Stadium in front of a packed house like it was last time the team went back.

“Hopefully Wellington will be our home for the next three years. We don’t want any disruptions like we’ve had for the past two to three seasons, with constantly moving about. The whole club is ready to be past that.”