Mehmet Makes A Move

Shane Smeltz obviously still has a soft spot for the Wellington Phoenix if the arrival of striker Billy Mehmet is anything to go by.

Shane Smeltz obviously still has a soft spot for the Wellington Phoenix if the arrival of striker Billy Mehmet is anything to go by.

The 27-year-old Mehmet has been invited to spend two or three weeks at the Hyundai A-League club and after his first training session revealed he was in Wellington thanks to the glowing reference the Phoenix and head coach Ricki Herbert got from Smeltz.

“Shane told me that Ricki is a great guy and that his training methods are good,” Mehmet, who played alongside Smeltz at Turkish club Genclerbirligi S.K. during the 2010-11 season, said.

“He had only good things to say about the Phoenix and when you hear that it really helps.”

The English-born player comes with a wealth of experience under his belt, including 141 games for Scottish Premier League club St Mirren during a five-year spell there between 2005 and 2010.

Mehmet had two years left on his contract when he left Turkey, deciding he wanted a change.

“I went back to England and had offers from there and Scotland but, after hearing what Shane had to say about the Phoenix and the A-League, I thought I would give New Zealand a go.

“It is now a case of do I like it and does the club like me. I am really looking forward to giving it a real go.”

Having only arrived the day before, Mehmet found the going tough when the Phoenix played an intra club game at Newtown Park on Friday.

“I was feeling good at the start but halfway through the jet lag kicked in,” Mehmet said.

“I-m sure I-ll be fine in a couple of days and be able to show the club what I am capable of.”