Wellington Phoenix are delighted to announce the return of the club’s 2014-15 Player of the Year and top goalscorer Nathan Burns on a two-year contract.
Phoenix fought off considerable interest across the A-League and from clubs in Asia to secure the signature of Burns which for General Manager David Dome indicates a statement of intent by the club.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have Nathan back”, said Dome, “he’s a player with a top, top pedigree, a tremendous work ethic and ambition to succeed and he’s somebody that’s synonymous with some of the best times we’ve seen at this club.”
“Nathan is a player that any A-League club would want – so it’s a real feather in our cap that he’s chosen to come back to Wellington.
“We’re not accepting our current position on the table, we haven’t given up on this season. We’ve gone through a major rebuild of our footballing department and it’s so positive to see that quality players still want to buy-in into what we’re doing.”
After bursting on to the scene with Adelaide United the Blayney-born Burns had a brief spell with Newcastle Jets before really fulfilling his potential with the Phoenix in Season 2014-15.
Burns top-scored for the club with thirteen goals, guiding Wellington to a fourth finals appearance while winning the Johnny Warren medal for the league’s best player.
High profile transfers to the J-League with FC Tokyo and Sanfrecce Hiroshima haven’t gone the way the striker would have liked, with Burns left eager to prove himself once again at a stadium where he enjoyed so much success.
“I’ve had some very positive experiences overseas, in Japan but also playing with the [Australian] national team, but I’m ready to come back,” said Burns.
“When I was in Wellington I was playing really well, it was probably the highlight of my career, I had good players around me, guys like Roy and Mikey who are still here, and as soon as I landed again I felt happy to be in the city, it feels like home.
“With the [January window] opening I’ve had plenty of offers from A-League and around Asia but when I heard Phoenix were keen that was my first choice.
“The fans here are tremendous, the people in New Zealand are some of the nicest you’ll meet and I feel almost a little sense of unfinished business – you’re never out in the A-League, a few wins and you can make a late charge for the finals and then who knows.”
Burns has arrived in Wellington and successfully passed a medical and could feature in Phoenix’s upcoming home games against Melbourne Victory (10 January) and Western Sydney Wanderers (13 January).