Wellington Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante has made an A-League first, with the announcement that his jersey number 22 will be retired when he does.

Speaking to the media ahead of the Phoenix’s clash with the Newcastle Jets, Durante talked about how he originally got number ended up with the 22 – a somewhat unconventional number in the world of football.

“I originally wanted the number six, but that was taken, so I actually choose 24, and it was printed on my jersey and everything,” Durante revealed.

“But the FFA wouldn’t allow it at the time as you could only have 23 players in your squad, so I had to find another number.

“I choose 22 and  became pretty symbolic of who I am.”

While the number will be retired, the question of when Durante himself will retire remains up in the air. The Nix skipper was coy when asked.

“I’m undecided. I still don’t know,” Durante said.

“When I do I’ll let you guys know. I’m trying not to think about it too much if I’m being honest.

“I’m taking it week by week, there’s such a positive atmosphere here right now and I’m just trying to enjoy that right now.”

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The Phoenix are performing above all expectations this season, with the preseason wooden spoon favourites on track for a home final, which has always been a goal for the Wellington based outfit.

“From day one we’ve set really high targets, and a home playoff was one of those targets. We’re on track for that, and therefore it’s really ours to lose,” he said.

“We’re playing really well, the midfielders are controlling games, the defence is doing quite well and the attackers are scoring goals.

“That clean sheet though, we are looking for that and to tighten up in defence. Filip Kurto is really desperate for that. I think he gets a bonus for each clean sheet he keeps!”

Phoenix head coach Mark Rudan has a plethora of potential options to pick to start, even with star Roy Krishna suspended.

“It’s given me a good headache… we’ve got a lot of goal scorers, there’s a lot of players there that are putting their hand up and scoring goals,” he said.

“Singh’s there, Burgess is there, Williams is there, and Cillian Sheridan’s there. The only person who’s not there is Nathan Burns, who’s injured.”

The Phoenix have only five players signed on for the 2019/20 A-League season, with a number of players reportedly waiting on a decision from Mark Rudan’s future.

Rudan stressed that is not in a hurry to make an immediate decision, and that the he has nothing to do with the player’s choices about their future.

“For me there’s no pressure. We’re all completely focused on making the best of this season.

“Whatever happens after that will just happen. As for the players, it’s their decision, not mine. At the end of the day they’re all adults and they’ll make their decision on what’s best for them and their families.”

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Featured image credit: Cameron McIntosh

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The Football Sack's resident teen kiwi football nut. Loves everything football except defeats.