惠灵顿凤凰 Wellington Phoenix
- Paddy Power夺冠赔率：25.00
Last Season: 9th
Manager: Ernie Merrick
Preferred formation/s: 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1
IN - Roly Bonevacia (From Roda JC Kerkade), Nathan Burns (From Incheon United), Tom Doyle (From Team Wellington), Alejandro Gorrin (From Sunderland U21), Michael McGlinchey (From Central Coast Mariners)
OUT - Luke Adams (Released), Leo Bertos (Released), Carlos Hernandez (Released), Stein Huysegems (Released), Shaun Timmins (Short-term contract expiry)
Team summary: Wellington finished a disappointing second from bottom last season but it wasn't all doom and gloom for the side across the ditch. The Phoenix played some really attractive football at times but were beset by injuries to key men, namely Albert Riera and Paul Ifill (with the latter no longer at the club). This paved the way for several Kiwi youngsters to make their mark and Ernie Merrick will be looking for the likes of Tyler Boyd, Matt Ridenton, and Jason Hicks to really kick on this season. Ernie will look to play a more cultured style of play this season, hence the signing of one of the premium midfielders in the competition in Michael McGlinchey. He is joined by a plethora of young talent from all corners of the globe in addition to Aussie forward, Nathan Burns, who was at Newcastle Jets last season.
Conclusion: It's a case of out with the old and in with the new (and young) at Wellington with just 4 players aged 30 or above. Looking at the squad, there is a lot of raw, young talent there. I am particularly interested in watching Spanish duo, Albert Riera and Alex Gorrin strut their stuff in midfield. Riera was one of the league's standout midfielders in his debut season while Alex Gorrin, former Sunderland U21 captain, was apparently on the fringes of the senior Premier League squad. A lot of responsibility will fall on the shoulders of striker, Jeremy Brockie. He was extremely disappointing last season but I will give him the benefit of the doubt after an interrupted pre-season last year, following his loan spell to FC Toronto.
Predicted finish: 9th