Durante commits to Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante has confirmed his long-term future with the Hyundai A-League club by signing a new three-year deal.

Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante has confirmed his long-term future with the Hyundai A-League club by signing a new three-year deal.

Durante, 29, already had another season to go on his existing contract and confirmed there had been interest from other clubs but the Phoenix had always been his first choice.

Sydney FC were keen to sign the Australian defender during his stint with them for last season's Asian Champions League.

"In the final analysis I have enjoyed my time here so much I thought why move and end up somewhere I wasn't as happy," Durante said.

"The group of players here are the best I've ever played with. Every day I enjoy going into work because I've never known a group like this.

"(Coach) Ricki (Herbert) committing himself to the club for another four years also played a part in my decision.

"I've been with him for four years now and I have played some of my best football in that time."

Durante has become the bedrock of the Phoenix defence in tandem with Ben Sigmund and has developed into a highly-respected captain, who has also had to deal with the off-field dramas of previous owner Terry Serepisos' financial situation during his time as skipper.

Durante's decision to commit long-term to the club is a further boost for Herbert following Paul Ifill agreeing to stay on until 2014.

"Since joining us in year two Dura has been influential within the club both on and off the field," Herbert said.

"Giving him the new deal also shows the club's intention to build for the future by retaining such an influential player."

Next year Durante becomes available to play for New Zealand as he has never played for the Socceroos.

"It isn't something I would push for, but at the same time I would never say no if I've not made the Australian team," the Wellington skipper said.

"It could be tricky having been born and bred in Aussie, but football has the tendency to send you on pathways you never imagined.

"When I first came to Wellington I never imagined I would be here four years later, let alone committing myself to another three years."