Italiano happy to be back in the West

Italiano happy to be back in the West

Posted on April 22, 2016 in 'News'

ECU Joondalup  have signed Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper Lewis Italiano for the rest of the PS4 National Premier League WA season.

WA born Italiano was part of the Perth Glory Hyundai A-League side in 2012, before signing for the Phoenix in 2013. The 25-year-old signing has come at the right time for the club, with number one keeper David Keenan out for the season with a knee injury.

Italiano who last played in WA football for Balcatta in 2012 said he jumped at the chance to head home to get some match practice under his belt. “It’s great to be back in WA, I’m born and bred here so to come back home and get some competitive football is good,” he said.  “I’ve got another year left on my Phoenix contract and I spoke to the club and said look I’d like to get some game time under my belt, so the club arranged that with ECU and made it all happen, and I’m delighted to be here and looking forward to the season ahead.”

The keeper had his first training session with ECU goalkeeping coach, former Charlton Athletic and Portsmouth custodian Andy Petterson, and he said it was good to get back into it after missing the last two weeks at the Phoenix with a knee injury. “I had a little problem with my knee, so I wasn’t involved in the final A-League game, but it was just a precaution, and I’ve not been playing in the side it was important for me to be right before coming over here,” he explained. “I had a couple of weeks off to rest the knee but everything is ok now, and I had my first training session with Andy on Tuesday and he put me through my paces and it was nice to get back into it and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season here.”

He has had to bide his time at Wellington, with Glen Moss being the number one at the club. He has played the one A-League game for the Phoenix, in a 1-2 loss against Sydney FC in 2015, but he also played for the Phoenix in a friendly against English Premier League side West Ham at Eden Park in 2014, making a number of good saves. “I’m really enjoying my time at the club and I’ve worked with some great people,” he said. “My former keeper coach Jonathan Gould, and now Des Buckingham and Ernie Merrick, have all been fantastic for me, but I know I’ve got to wait my turn at Wellington, as we all have to in football, and Mossy has been in good form.

“He has another year on his contract, and I’ve signed on for another year too, so we’ll see what happens here. I’ve come to ECU to get more game time and get my confidence back up, and work hard with Andy and improve my game, and I’m sure they (Wellington) will be keeping an eye on me while I’m here.”

Italiano started his football at Inglewood United, before signing for Balcatta. He then headed to Victoria to play for Oakleigh Cannons, before moving to the A-League. He said he has been impressed with the standard of football that the new NPL competition has brought.  “I left WA four years ago and it was just the State League then, but the NPL has been a great for football around the country,” he said. “I went over to the NPL Victoria with Oakleigh before heading to the Phoenix, and you can see the difference and the quality of football is higher. I watch the lads on the weekend at Stirling, and you can see the speed and quality of the players has improved greatly.”

The keeper will make his debut for the club, after his international clearance was received on Tuesday. ECU takes on Floreat Athena in twilight game at the E&D Litis Stadium on Saturday (5.00pm) and Italiano is looking forward to help the club to the three points. “Yes I’m really looking forward to my debut for the club on Saturday, under lights at Floreat, and it will be nice to see how that Stadium has changed since I left, as I played there for Balcatta,” he said. “I’m looking forward to making my debut and playing with my new teammates, and obviously looking for a winning start for the club.”