Head coach Ernie Merrick has completed his first Wellington Phoenix signing with former Perth Glory goalkeeper Lewis Italiano joining the club on a one year contract.
Italiano, 22 and 1.89m tall, is currently playing for Oakleigh Cannons in the Victoria Premier League and will arrive in Wellington on September 1.
“I want him to play as many games as possible at a good level to get him ready as he will probably be in goal for our opening game against Brisbane Roar with Glen Moss likely to be called up for international duty,” Merrick said.
“Because of the situation the Phoenix is in regarding the number of national team players in the squad, it is vital that we have two good keepers with World Cup qualifying games coming up.”
Merrick said he was confident Italiano, who was understudy to Danny Vukovic at Perth for the past two seasons, would be a valuable acquisition.
“He has had a very good season in the VPL,” Merrick said,
“I’ve had several reports saying he is the best goalkeeper in the league.
“Also our goalkeeping coach Jonathan Gould worked with him for a season at Perth and knows his character, ability and potential.”
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