Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Football: New Phoenix recruit arrives in Wellington

Dutch recruit Roly Bonevacia. Photo / Getty Images.
Dutch recruit Roly Bonevacia. Photo / Getty Images.

The latest piece of Ernie Merrick's midfield has arrived in Wellington.

Dutch recruit Roly Bonevacia made it through his first training session with the Phoenix at Newtown Park this morning and Merrick was pleased with how the 22-year-old slotted in to the mix.

Bonevacia, a graduate of Ajax's famed academy in Holland, has added to Merrick's midfield depth for the upcoming A-League season, which begins in October.

The Phoenix's back four seems set but it's the combination of the midfield and strikers that Merrick is yet to settle upon.

"Roly Bonevacia, for his first session for several weeks, was first-class," Merrick said. "I always feel that if you control the middle of the field, you control a game. You're not always guaranteed to win it but we've got the best chance of winning it if you control the middle. So I've been very particular in signing defensive and attacking midfielders who are very mobile."

Bonevacia has arrived in the capital with his wife and baby daughter and enjoyed his first taste of his new surroundings.

"It's a perfect place to live and to play," he said. "I'm a dynamic player who can pass and I'm strong in defence and attack. I'm an all-round player."

Spaniard Albert Riera will take up the defensive role in the middle of the park for Wellington this season but Merrick will have other players at his disposal such as Bonevacia, Nathan Burns, Vince Lia or Louis Fenton to complete the line.

It remains to be seen if Michael McGlinchey will be one of those players as his lengthy contract saga continues to play out with no end in sight.

The Central Coast Mariners and the Phoenix both believe they have him under contract but the matter is in arbitration.

"There's no developments yet," Merrick said.

McGlinchey was named in the New Zealand Select XI to meet the Phoenix in Taupo on Sunday but Merrick wasn't sure if the All White would lace his boots up this weekend.
'I'm not sure if he's allowed to play or not."

New Zealand Football didn't return calls today in regards to McGlinchey's availability.
Merrick is yet to make contact with new All Whites coach Anthony Hudson but said he hoped to catch up with the Englishman this weekend.

"I know we'll get the chance up in Taupo and I think it's a good appointment and I think it'll all work well," Merrick said.

Following Sunday's hit-out, the Phoenix's pre-season campaign continues with a game against a Central League XI in Kapiti at the end of the month before they meet fellow A-League sides Newcastle, Sydney FC and Western Sydney in friendly matches.

Wellington begin their season proper against the Perth Glory at Westpac Stadium on Sunday, October 12.

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