Wellington Phoenix continue to lock down their stand-outs by re-signing All Whites utility Tim Payne for a further two years.
The 25-year-old’s signature comes hot on the heels of a host of key retentions for Ufuk Talay as he wards off approaches for his in-form squad, who are unbeaten in their past seven matches and sit sixth on the Hyundai A-League table.
The Auckland-born Payne has proved himself a break-out member of the Phoenix squad in his first Hyundai A-League season – starting the past eight matches for Talay’s side and making the right full back role his own after stepping in to replace the injured Louis Fenton.
Payne has also represented New Zealand at all age group levels. He made his full All Whites debut in 2012 and played for his country against Lithuania in November in an international friendly.
Talay told wellingtonphoenix.com he sees Payne as a key component of his side as they plot a path to their first ever Hyundai A-League silverware.
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“We’ve been really happy with Tim,” Talay said.
“His versatility and ability to play multiple positions has been important for us this season; he’s a great worker with a great attitude.
“Tim and the boys are all a tight-knit group; they all work for each other, they all stand up for each other and they all share a belief in the direction that we’re heading.”
Payne’s is the latest contract extension announced this week by the Phoenix, with Steven Taylor, Alex Rufer and Jaushua Sotirio also pledging their futures to the club.
The Phoenix now boast 13 players committed to the club beyond this season and Talay says he’s pleased with where the club is at in terms of securing players.
“Obviously we’re very happy to get these players over the line, and the players themselves are happy to know where they will be, and that they can be part of building a good foundation and culture for the Phoenix in the future.
“We want to build with these players and help them – and us - become better each year.”
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Payne started his youth career with Auckland City FC before marking his mark at Waitakere United; he was then called to the New Zealand side for the 2011 U17 World Cup in Mexico.
Prior to signing with the Phoenix this season, Payne captained Auckland-based side Eastern Suburbs to their first National title since 1971.
The in-form Phoenix will be seeking to extend their unbeaten run and build on a last start win over Western United when they host Central Coast Mariners in the New Zealand capital on Saturday.
Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners
Saturday, 4 January 2020
Kick off: 5.00pm AEDT