Goalkeeper Lewis Italiano might not have appeared in an A-League game for the Wellington Phoenix but it hasn't stopped the club offering him a one-year extension to his contract.
Initially signed on a one-year deal, the 1.89m 22-year-old today signed for another 12 months.
Goalkeeping coach Jonathan Gould, who coached Italiano at Perth Glory for one season, has been impressed with the way he has gone about his work and is pleased he has committed himself for another year.
"Lewis has a good presence about him and commands his box aerially,'' Gould said. "He has a laidback, super personality and a lot of things are water off a duck's back to him, which is a good trait for a goalkeeper to have.''
Italiano said he was "buzzing'' after having his contract extended but also admitted it can get frustrating being No 2 behind first-choice goalkeeper Glen Moss. He knows it would take an injury or sending off for him to get on the field but is quite happy to bide his time.
"As a No 2 keeper you have to wait for your moment to arrive. Mossy had to go down the same path when he started out,'' Italiano said. "My job is to keep pushing him and to be ready should the chance come.''
Italiano's Phoenix career got off to a disjointed start when he sustained an ankle injury in the last minutes of his final loan game for Victoria Premier League side Oakleigh Cannons. It meant weeks of rehabilitation rehabilitation and, when Moss was away on All Whites duty for the first game of the A-League season, the spot between the posts went to Team Wellington goalkeeper Jacob Spoonley.
The Phoenix host the Melbourne Victory at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.