Fenton extends stay with Wellington Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick believes young gun Louis Fenton will play in Europe one day but for now has made the “sensible" decision to stay in New Zealand.

Fenton, 21, signed a one-year extension with the A-League club which will keep him at Phoenix until the end of the 2015-16 season.

After coming through an injury-hit campaign last term, the Kiwi international said he was delighted to continue working under Merrick.

“I want to keep on improving and establish myself in the A-League and I believe Ernie is the coach who can help me do that,” Fenton said.

“Ernie is always trying to improve me and I am learning all the time.

“When I came here I could probably only play one position, but I think I can now put my hand up to play anywhere.

“I would love to play striker because that is where I started out and, like every footballer, I like to score goals.”

That was obvious from the Wellington-born player’s celebration when he notched up a diving header on debut against Sydney FC.

Merrick described Fenton’s re-signing as “a sensible career decision”.

“He has done the right thing by having another season here and not just jumping on a plane and going overseas thinking he is ready,” Merrick said.

“I’m confident he will eventually be ready and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he does end up playing in Europe.”

Despite a serious shoulder injury hampering his game time last season Merrick has been impressed with Fenton’s development.

“Louis has come a long way in the last 12 months,” he said.

“He now has a range of skills that allow him to play defensively, creatively in midfield as well as up front in goal scoring areas.

“No longer does he play with his head down. He now has it up and looks for the forward pass before going off on a dribble.

“It won’t be long before he is back in the All Whites and is pushing hard for a place in the starting XI at the Phoenix.

“That won’t be easy with the arrival of some fantastic new players but if he continues as he has done you never know what might happen.”