Round two for Matthew Ridenton at the Phoenix

-

After a brief spell across the ditch at the Newcastle Jets and Brisbane Roar respectively, a return to his boyhood club to finish what he started has Matthew Ridenton exceptionally excited.

With over 100 A-League appearances, and five for the All-Whites at just age 24, Matthew Ridenton’s return to the Wellington Phoenix brings much needed experience and leadership to one of the league’s youngest squads.

Embed from Getty Images

Ridenton is returning to a club in a much better stead than when he left. Wellington finished ninth at the end of the season he left, whereas last season they finished third. Ridenton recognises this is down to the transformation that the Nix have experienced under coach Ufuk Talay.

“Under Ufuk their attacking play was really good to watch last year and their style of play is one that would be enjoyable to play in and to learn under a new coaching staff,” said 24-year-old Ridenton, whose passing game will fit in nicely with Talay’s side’s style of play.

Infrequent starting opportunities at the Jets last year came as a blessing in disguise of sorts for the 24-year-old. He had the opportunity to head to England for a week-long trial with Championship side Reading.

Unfortunately things didn’t work out the way Ridenton had hoped. The experience was beneficial for the young Kiwi though, for both his personal development and the development of his football.

“Sometimes you’ve got to take a bit of a risk in football and sometimes they don’t pay off, but you learn a lot from being in new environments and you know you’ve got to take little learnings from these,” he said.

Embed from Getty Images

Having signed his first professional contract at the Phoenix in 2013, the midfielder knows the club better than most.

“I think now that I’ve gone away as well and grown a lot as a person on and off the field. Some of the players I started with like Louis Fenton, Alex Rufer and myself have taken on much more a leadership position with the younger players in the squad.”

Embed from Getty Images

He is also confident that the Wellington side won’t be using the excuse of being based in Wollongong. Instead saying the amount of time they spend together will only make them better off for the season as their club culture grows.

This growing culture and identity that the Nix have put together is making it a sought after destination. Coupled with the young talent that they have coming through and the club’s exceptional recruitment, Ridenton believes that all of these factors can help the club better last season’s results.

With what’s transpiring at the Phoenix, few can blame Ridenton for wanting to return ‘home’. This young but experienced local talent will be looking to have a big say in the Phoenix’s success this year.

Featured image credit: Speed Media / Wellington Phoenix

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Latest Articles

Revealed: A-League teams that rely on winning at home

Some football teams love playing in front of their home fans but crumble on away days. Just how important is playing at home for...

Revealed: A-League’s all-time, points per game ladder

When measuring the success of a sports club, titles tend to be the first point of reference - but what about winning on a...
Chris Ball
Football fanatic, supporting some, at times, hard to follow sides.