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Litfin at home at scaled-down Phoenix

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 19/10/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

It's not just the height factor that has got Ben Litfin feeling at home straight away at the Wellington Phoenix.

New Australian signing Litfin emerged unscathed from his first training session in blustery Wellington, where his diminutive frame was instantly lost in a sea of vertically-challenged players.

The 21-year-old, standing at 1.68m, is the shortest of the lot but not far behind pocket-sized front men Kosta Barbarouses, Roy Krishna and Michael McGlinchey.

Brazilian playmaker Gui Finkler, at 1.84m, is a comparative giant standing 10cm taller than any of the first-choice attackers at coach Ernie Merrick's disposal.

It is no coincidence, with Merrick a believer in short passing and speed to unlock defences rather than the traditional route of crossing to a lanky centre forward.

Prolific Gold Coast City scorer Litfin says that suits him perfectly.

"I came here for a few days of trials a few weeks back. It's so attack-minded, such short passing, it's exactly the way I like to play," he said.

"I'm an attacking player. I like to get in little combinations with the front three and the midfield players and I like scoring goals."

Litfin, who scored 19 goals in 20 games in this year's Queensland National Premier League, will be a welcome arrival for a Phoenix team yet to score in two opening A-League losses.

He isn't likely force a place in the starting side for Sunday's home match against leaders Sydney FC but plans to apply some heat on Merrick.

"It is a very strong team. I've really liked watching McGlinchey, and I've watched Barbarouses tear up the wing. And Finkler too, I'm happy learning from these guys.

"But I'll knock on the door and it's up to the coach."

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