Lindsay learns art of survival

Cameron Lindsay is proving himself in a tough environment and is beginning to thrive at the Phoenix.

At just 19 years of age Wellington Phoenix midfielder Cameron Lindsay already knows all about the cut-throat nature of football.

During his three and a half years in Blackburn Rovers' academy he saw plenty of teammates come and go before he eventually was let go by the English Premier League club, just short of making the senior side.

"I played with so many different boys and you see them just get cut every trial period," Lindsay said.

"Luckily I had a fairly decent contract but mates of mine were just there for a season then cut."

"Some of them are playing for non-league sides (in Britain) now. Some of them are progressing on. Phil Jones, he's playing for Manchester United.

"Some do make it but the industry is really cut-throat and you've got to be pretty special and a little bit lucky I guess as well."

Lindsay's luck came in the form of Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert who signed the young midfielder as one of his mandatory under-20 players in October last year.

"When you're a footballer you just want to make sure you get a new contract every season," Lindsay said.

"To get a look in here and get a spot with the Phoenix I was really excited. It's something that will be good for my game and good to progress on.

"I've been on the bench a few times and I'm eager to get (a game). But I'm the youngest and I've just got to be patient."

While the teenager is yet to make his Hyundai A-League debut, Herbert has been impressed by what he has seen and believes Lindsay has the right attitude, temperament and work ethic to succeed.

"If you've got those characteristics then you've got a chance. That's all you can ask and he's got that," said Herbert, who is hopeful of re-signing the New Zealand Under-20 international.

"He's been great for us and well respected by the senior players and that's a real tick in his box.

"He's worked really hard. As a young boy the retention of a professional contract is really important for them. He's done everything that he's been asked to do to retain that.

"I've been really pleased with him and hopefully we can give him some time to be part of what we're doing and give him the confidence of being around the club for a longer period.

"I'd like to see him next year where if he's not in the team he's on the bench and the next one to come into the team. He's pretty close to doing that."

Lindsay also has a shot at representing New Zealand at the Olympic Games in London later this year.

The Under-23 side will take part in the Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament in Fiji in March with the winner going on to London.

"I'm sure he'll be part of the Olympic campaign," said Herbert, who could be in charge of the U23 squad in London.

"We've given him time to be away with that group and train and play and the reports back have been very positive too."

It is certainly something Lindsay is keen to be involved in.

"That's definitely a goal of mine to get into that squad and make the qualifiers and then try and help the team qualify for the Olympics," he said.

"What an experience that would be to play at the Olympics.

"The football World Cup and the Olympic Games would be the two biggest sporting events in the world. To be involved in that squad and have the potential to go to something like that when you've grown up watching it on TV. To think you could be a part of that, that's huge."