Matt Ridenton Returns To The Wellington Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix have announced that kiwi midfielder Matt Ridenton has signed a one-year contract with the club.

 

READ: Wellington Phoenix to Hold Pre-Season Camp in Wollongong

READ: Liam McGing Re-Signs For The Upcoming Season

 

“To come back is very exciting for me, it’s a great opportunity for me; the Phoenix had a really good season last season and I enjoyed myself last time I played there.

 

Ridenton returns to the Phoenix after making his professional debut for the Wellington side in 2013, appearing in 72 matches across five seasons and scoring four goals. A seasoned A-League performer at 24 years old, Ridenton has appeared in 107 A-League matches; including last season with the Newcastle Jets and Brisbane Roar.

Prior to this, Ridenton played his youth football for Three Kings United and Saint Kentigern College in Auckland, making his career debut for Auckland City in the ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership. He also has significant national team experience under his belt, having made 16 appearances across the national Under 17 and Under 20 sides along with six All Whites appearances.

Wellington Phoenix Head Coach, Ufuk Talay says that Ridenton will help shore up the depth in the Phoenix midfield and provide another versatile option.

“It’s always good to add another talented young Kiwi player into our ranks, as well as someone with Matt’s level of experience – both internationally and in the A-League.

“He’ll have every chance to contribute next season and to show his skills; I know he’s got a solid work-rate and a wide passing range which we hope will fit into our style of play.”

“And I’m sure Nix fans will be happy to see him back in the yellow and black too.”

Ridenton says that he is looking forward to a return to the Phoenix, albeit based in Wollongong for the start of the season.

“To come back is very exciting for me, it’s a great opportunity for me; the Phoenix had a really good season last season and I enjoyed myself last time I played there.

“It’ll be a different sort of feeling to meet up with the team in Wollongong as opposed to Wellington and, but that’s the world we’re living in at the moment – it’s always great to play in front of your home fans in New Zealand, but hopefully we’ll get some support from the fans in Wollongong.”

Ridenton Image
Matt Ridenton In His First Stint At The Club Against Brisbane Roar

Ridenton says that he feels he has developed as a player and a person since he last played for Wellington.

“I really appreciated the opportunity the Nix gave me in my last season [the 2017/18 season] to get some consistent game time and show what I could do, and hopefully this season I can show Ufuk and the team the development I’ve made since then while playing in Australia.”

Ridenton says he is looking forward to playing under Ufuk Talay and the setup he put in place last season with the Phoenix – especially after seeing it first-hand when his Brisbane Roar side took on the Nix during the season re-start.

“Ufuk has bought a great playing style to the squad, I watched the team grow last season into a really good ball possession team – probably the best team alongside Sydney FC and Melbourne City to watch, which is a real credit to the coach and the players.

“As a player I like to get on the ball, so I’m really looking forward to being a part of that style and hopefully helping the team.”

Ridenton will travel from Brisbane to Wollongong tomorrow to join the team at their pre-season training camp, as the team prepares for the A-League season start on 27 December 2020.