28 Mar 2015

Nix down on All Whites, but coping better than some

11:54 am on 28 March 2015

The A-League football leaders Wellington Phoenix are going to be missing seven players to international duty for this weekend's home game against third-placed Sydney FC.

Ernie Merrick

Ernie Merrick Photo: Photosport

Because the Australian competition doesn't take a break for FIFA windows - though ironically it did stop for nearly a month when the country hosted the recent Asian Cup, which the Socceroos won - many of the Phoenix and other A-League sides' international players will be away competing for their national teams.

Six of the Phoenix's All Whites players are in the New Zealand squad for their friendly against Korea Republic in Seoul on Sunday - defenders Michael Boxall, Thomas Doyle and Louis Fenton, midfielder Michael McGlinchey and the forward Tyler Boyd, as well as the reserves forward, Joel Stevens.

And the Australian international striker Nathan Burns is also with the Socceroos in Kaiserslautern, where they drew 2-2 with World Cup holders Germany.

Phoenix players celebrate Nathan Burns' goal at the Hutt Rec

Retired All White Ben Sigmund will be there on Sunday, but Nathan Burns (obscured) won't Photo: Photosport

But Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick says he doesn't mind, because it's affecting all the A-League clubs now as the competition's increasingly involving top Socceroos players, so there's a fair bit of complaining going on.

Ernie Merrick

Ernie Merrick Photo: Photosport

Merrick says the Wellington club's been dealing with it since they began in 2007, so he'll leave it to the other coaches to do the complaining now, and they'll just get on with it.