Phoenix win race for Sydney Olympic defender

It took just one training session and a couple of pre-season friendlies to convince Wellington Phoenix Head Coach, Ernie Merrick, that Sydney Olympic defender Troy Danaskos was the real deal.

Danaskos appeared as a trialist for Western Sydney Wanderers against Phoenix and impressed Merrick and Assistant Coach Chris Greenacre enough to get a trial in Wellington.

The 23-year-old trained with the team on Friday and played on Saturday, topping off an accomplished all-round game with a goal in the 2-2 draw with Auckland City.

On Sunday Danaskos signed a one-year deal with the A-League outfit.

“I’ve been looking to build depth on the left and right side of the defence and Troy fitted the bill for the left side,” Merrick said.

“Chris and I had done our homework on the player and knew he had been on the radar of several A-League clubs including Wanderers and Sydney.

“I decided to fly him out and from what I saw over the two days I’m glad I did because he acquitted himself well.”

Just last week, Merrick told FourFourTwo he was looking for two more players to complete his roster ahead of the 2015/16 A-League campaign.

Cash no issue in Phoenix player search

“We’ve got 21 signed players, including three NYL players - I think two more players would be good,"he said.

Danaskos flew back to Sydney on Sunday, still coming to terms at how things had developed during his two days in New Zealand.

“Everything happened so fast,” Danaskos said.

“I felt comfortable from the time I arrived and was impressed with the way the players have taken me on board.

“I think the deal sealer was that Mr Merrick himself rang to invite me for a trial.

“I don’t think too many head coaches would do that, and he even picked me up from the airport!

“I enjoyed playing against Auckland because it is easier when you have good players around you.”

As for the goal he scored from just inside the penalty area Danaskos, who began as a left winger before moving back into defence, said with a smile that “it took a bit of a deflection, but I’ll take it!”

Danaskos will resume training with the squad on Wednesday.