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Australian Football: Phoenix snap up Ugarkovic

Wellington Phoenix have bolstered their midfield with the capture of Steven Ugarkovic from the Western Sydney Wanderers.

The Nix had a good 2021/22 A-League campaign when making finals but they are looking to kick on further next season and the recruitment drive has already begun.

Experienced campaigner

At 27 Ugarkovic has plenty of A-League experience having amassed 167 appearances for the Newcastle Jets and then the Wanderers. He featured in all 26 of Western Sydney’s games last season.

The midfielder has penned a one-year deal and will help cover the loss of Alex Rufer, who will miss the start of next season through injury.

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“I’ve always liked Steven, even before he signed with Western Sydney,” Phoenix head coach Ufuk Talay told the club’s website. “Firstly he’s a good person and secondly he’s a very good footballer that has an abundance of experience within the A-League.

“The two sixes play a very important role in our team and to bring in a player of Steven’s quality alongside Clayton Lewis and Nicholas Pennington is a big boost for us.

“He’s a very big signing for the club and I’m very excited to have a player of his calibre within our squad.”

Talay influence

Ugarkovic says the chance to work with Talay was one of the main reasons he opted to make the switch across the Tasman.

“The big pull is Uffy as a coach. He’s someone I feel like I can learn under a lot from, on and off the field,” he said.
“His brand of football played an important role in my decision. Playing against Wellington, it’s always hard to break them down. They’re very structured and everyone knows what their job is. That’s what I like and that’s what I think I need to go to the next level.”

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