Merrick finally lands Burns

After a chaotic couple of years in South Korea, Nathan Burns is looking forward to some stability and the chance just to focus on his football.

After a chaotic couple of years in South Korea, Nathan Burns is looking forward to some stability and the chance just to focus on his football following his arrival in Wellington.

The 26-year-old Australian landed in the New Zealand capital on Tuesday after signing a two-year deal with the Wellington Phoenix.

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick has been a fan of Burns for several years now, with the attacking midfielder revealing the coach has contacted him every year for the past four years.

Burns’ time at K-League club Incheon United was a frustrating one after a knee injury early into his three-year deal restricted him to just a handful of games.

He had a loan spell at A-League side Newcastle Jets last season then returned to Korea in mid-January where he trained for a few months before the contract was ended.

Since then he’s played some trial matches, including in Japan, before having a four-week holiday and deciding his immediate future was in Wellington.

“I was looking to settle in to a club where I wouldn’t have to deal with all the stuff you have to deal with overseas and just train hard and let the football do the talking,” Burns, who also spent four years at Greek side AEK Athens with a spell on loan at Kerkira, explained.

“The A-League is very attractive right now and Ernie (Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick) was very convincing. I had a good chat with him. I’m excited to play under him.”

“This time it was as soon as I finished with Newcastle. I wasn’t sure what was happening with my club situation so we were in talks with several people.

“But I’ve always admired the way he coaches. He’s very relaxed and very calm and for me that’s a good thing,” the former Adelaide United player added.

“I don’t really like coaches yelling on game day because they have all week to prepare and basically on game day you’ve got to let the footballers play.

“So I really respect how he coaches and his methods and I’d heard from other players from Melbourne that he was good.”

Merrick has been looking for a player who can play as a midfielder, winger or high striker and he believes Burns has the potential to do that.

Burns, who played seven games for the Socceroos between 2007 and 2011, is confident he can play just behind the striker or out wide but said it would take time gelling with his team-mates to determine which position suited him and the team best.

“I’m agile and I can play several different positions. We’ll see how Ernie sets the team up and hopefully I can adapt to his style,” said Burns.

“I have a lot of expectation of myself. I always have. I always push myself. I bring something different. The longer I stay here the more I’ll gel with the players.”