Ben Waine is learning from the best at Wellington

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Wellington Phoenix youngster Ben Waine is in a weird spot. Too good for the reserves but not quite good enough to be a starter in the A-League. So for the moment, he is trapped on the bench.

However, Waine is making the most of this opportunity. Being teammates with David Ball and Gary Hooper is a privilege few enjoy.

“Everyone wants to be able to play 90 minutes, but when you’ve got Bally and Hooper playing the way they are now, scoring and assisting constantly, as a young boy it’s really great to learn and take notes from,” he said.

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“They’ve both been really helpful, whenever there’s something individually tailored for the strikers in training they’ll be helping me and suggesting things.

“Maybe I could do this, maybe I could do that.”

Having made his Phoenix debut at just 17 years old, Waine finds himself a part of Wellington’s youth revolution.

He is in awe of Ball’s and Hooper’s impressive playing CV.

“Ballys’ been in the UK and Hooper has played in the Premier League and for Celtic,” he said.

“Taking advice from them and their overseas experience is really good and really helpful.

“If I’m not playing and somebody has to be ahead of me then it’s got to be them.

“It’s tough sometimes, but I’m really enjoying the learning that’s coming out of it.”

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For a player so young to see starlets like Liberato Cacace, Reno Piscopo and Cameron Devlin to be constantly in the first team must be incredibly inspiring.

Then there is the knowledge of the trust in such a team, you are not going to be instantly dropped for one bad game. Time is on your side.

And despite all of that, this young team is one of the best in the A-League.

“What our team is doing at the moment, it’s something I haven’t seen the club do before and it’s incredibly exciting for the likes of us young boys,” Waine said.

“If you said to me that the Phoenix would be playing football the way we are at the moment I would have probably laughed at you.”

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However, in his immediate future lies a chance to go and compete on the biggest sports stage around. In his immediate future lies a chance to go to the 2020 Olympics.

As you can guess, he wants a shot at it.

“I’m gonna push for that as hard as I can and if it doesn’t work out it doesn’t work out,” he said.

“At least I can say I’ve given it my best shot.

“But, going to the Olympics and being able to call yourself an Olympian would be a dream come true.”

Featured image credit: Supplied.

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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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