Injured Daniel Returns Home

The Wellington Phoenix’ already thin playing numbers have been depleted further with Daniel sustaining an ankle injury in the 2-0 loss to Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.

The Wellington Phoenix- already thin playing numbers have been depleted further with Daniel sustaining an ankle injury in the 2-0 loss to Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.

While his team-mates remain in Australia preparing for Saturday-s vital clash with Sydney FC Daniel will return to Wellington for scans on his ankle.

Physiotherapist Wayne Roberts said the injury appeared to be a high ankle sprain and if so Daniel would be sidelined for two to three weeks.

“There is no chance of him playing against Sydney so the best scenario was to get him back to Wellington as soon as possible for a scan,” Roberts said.

“Hopefully it is nothing more serious but we need to find out quickly.”

Daniel, who has been virtually injury free during his five years with the Phoenix, said he had never felt such pain.

“Playing the last 10 minutes was really painful but I didn-t want to go off because I had gone on as a substitute,” he said.

“It got even worse after the game and I couldn-t sleep last night.

“This (the injury) has come at a bad time for me as my contract is up for renewal, and I also want to get back as quick as I can to help the team get as high a placing as possible in the playoffs.”

Before going to Australia with the Phoenix on Thursday Daniel visited Thailand to check out a club that was keen to sign him if he didn-t renew his contract in Wellington.

He also had an offer from a Singapore club but bypassed that country as the money being offered in Thailand was better.

Daniel said stories in some New Zealand newspapers suggesting he was about to walk out on the Phoenix were wide of the mark.

“My contract finishes in April and I am having discussions with the club,” Daniel said.

“But I felt I had to check out other options and Ricki (Herbert) gave me permission to go and have a look.

“It didn-t take me long to realise that Thailand wasn-t a place I wanted to take my family.

“Had I been younger and single I could probably have given it a go, but first choice is to stay with the Phoenix.

“I want to continue playing for the Phoenix and want to play for the All Whites now I am qualified to do so.

“I have had a lot of support on Facebook with people asking me to stay and I hope that is possible because I love Wellington, New Zealand and the Phoenix.”

Coach Ricki Herbert will be looking for a reaction from his players against Sydney after the disappointing performance against the Mariners.

He expects the resilience the team has shown to get into the top four to get them back on track on Saturday.

“I thought we lacked something around the pitch against the Mariners,” Herbert said.

“We looked flat. We were a yard away from the ball and just never really gave ourselves a chance to get some fluency in our play.

“Too many players had an off night but they have been resilient this season and I hope we will see the same reaction come Saturday.”