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Goalkeeper Italiano staying with Phoenix

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/06/2017

The patience of Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper Lewis Italiano looks set to pay off.

The club confirmed Italiano had signed a one-year contract to stay with the A-League club, the first player announcement since the unveiling this week of new coach Darije Kalezic.

After signing with the Phoenix four years ago, West Australian Italiano has been the understudy to All Whites veteran Glen Moss.

He waited 677 days for his first game and another 566 days for his second, against Newcastle Jets in round 24 this year. He remained between the posts for the remainder of the season.

Those performances and a series of solid outings in the Victorian NPL with FC Bulleen Lions convinced Kalezic it is time for the 26-year-old to be the first-choice stopper at the Phoenix.

Italiano was delighted to secure his immediate future.

"Obviously there was a bit of uncertainty at the end of last season, but staff at the club were constantly in touch, telling me they thought I was ready to step up, and that if I knuckled down over the off-season then there could be an opportunity [to re-sign]," he said.

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