Rufer and Taylor on their new contracts

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The Wellington Phoenix announced contract extensions for their captain Steven Taylor and vice captain Alex Rufer on Wednesday, and the pair talked to the media following their extensions.

Rufer has only ever signed one year contracts with the club, but this extension to his contract will see him stay in Wellington until the end of the 2022/23 season.

“I’m really happy with the direction the club is going in. It’s really positive. I feel blessed to be playing here,” he said.

“Three years is good for me – it means I can get consistent games and keep improving.”

Despite his long-term contract at the Nix, Rufer does have an eye on playing outside of the A-League.

“I still have ambitions to play overseas, that’s always been a dream of mine. But at this time, it is important for me to just keep playing consistently.

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“Who knows what will happen in the future?”

The Phoenix may be riding high at the moment, but Rufer would have committed his future to the club anyway.

“Even if we weren’t doing well I probably would have re-signed. Back at the beginning of the season we were still playing well, we just weren’t getting results,” he said.

Taylor, like Rufer also spoke highly of the Nix and how re-signing was not a difficult choice.

“I’m happy here. Why would I go somewhere else?

“It was a very easy decision to make. It was just a waiting game on the club and thankfully we came to an agreement. Now I’m here for another two years!”

A big part of Taylor’s happiness comes from Wellington’s positive direction, especially with their focus on youth.

“I’m a part of something special here with the club trying to promote so many young players,” he said.

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“They’ve stepped up to the plate really well, and it’s great to be helping the young boys that are coming through.

“I get to test myself against them every week, and it helps me learn as well.

“When you compare the Wellington of today to where it was a few years ago –  we’re definitely moving in the right direction.”

Unlike recent years, the Phoenix have begun the process of re-signing players quite early, with fifteen players already committed to next season. This added security is hugely comforting to the players involved.

“It’s important – I think that was one of our downfalls last year,” Taylor said.

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“Towards the end of last year, players didn’t know if they were coming or going while other players had deals sorted for elsewhere and it just really wasn’t good for us.

“Now, that side of things is getting put to bed and the players are happy. They’re getting their futures sorted out early.

“You look at the successful teams in the A-League like Sydney and Perth, you’ll see that they’ve kept their squad and built on it over the years.”

Featured image credit: Cameron McIntosh

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

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