Matt Thompson on trial with Wellington Phoenix

Brendon Thorne

The A-League's most capped player is a free agent after his release from Melbourne Heart. He'll try to win a spot with the Phoenix under Ernie Merrick.

No one has played more A-League games than Matt Thompson. At just 31 years old (his birthday was Sunday), it was widely assumed that his playing career was not over when he was released by Melbourne Heart at the end of the 2012/13 season. Now Thompson will go on trial at Wellington Phoenix, according to Radio Sport NZ's Jason Pine:

Thompson's A-League career began in the league's inaugural season with Newcastle Jets. Over 120 games later, Thompson signed on with Melbourne Heart in its first A-League season of 2010/11. More than 80 games with Heart followed, including the captaincy under John van 't Schip. His release by John Aloisi was not entirely unexpected but his failure to catch on anywhere before August has been a bit of a surprise.

With Andrew Durante and Ben Sigmund, the Phoenix are well represented in central defense, but a player with as much experience as Thompson could always be useful, especially for a team like Wellington, who were wooden spoon captors in 2012/13. Ernie Merrick's defensive signings so far this offseason, Reece Caira and Luke Adams, are talented but young. It would not be overly surprising to see Thompson stick at Wellington, if he is willing to accept a bench role.

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