Wellington Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante has paid tribute to teammate Manny Muscat who’s set to play his 150th game for the Wellington outfit tonight against Hyundai A-League leaders Perth Glory.
Muscat, 29, from the west of Melbourne is one of the unsung heroes of the Hyundai A-League.
The versatile defender took his chance with Phoenix six years ago after being picked up from Melbourne’s then VPL (now NPL) by Ricki Herbert.
He has since forged an excellent career with the club, becoming one of the most reliable players in the league.
Muscat’s selection in this year’s Foxtel A-League All Stars against Juventus in August another example of his growing reputation.
His career with Phoenix also propelled the former Sunshine George Cross player to the international arena with his country of heritage, Malta, where he’s earned a handful of caps.
And Muscat’s club skipper was quick to pay tribute to a man who keeps a lid on publicity ahead of his 150th in Perth tonight.
“Manny Muscat… he’s been a great player for the club. He’s very reliable.
“He rarely plays poorly and he’s extremely versatile,” Durante told www.a-league.com.au on the eve of tonight’s game in Perth.
“He has that mongrel attitude on field that his opponent won’t get the better of him.”
Phoenix will need that against a rampant Perth Glory tonight at nib.
Glory coach Kenny Lowe has hinted returning internationals Jamie Maclaren (Olyroos) and Mitch Nichols (Socceroos) may see some game time, potentially from the start.
“Macca has been away and scored, so he’ll be on a bit of a high,” Lowe said in The West Australian newspaper.
“Mitch has been away and played some part of the game, so he’s going to be on a bit of a high.
“So we’ve got to tap into that as well as the vibe around the place. We’ll see how we go.”
And it’ll be up to Durante, Muscat and Co. to stop them.
If they do, and Phoenix pull off an upset, don’t expect Muscat to seek out Fox Sports post game.
“Away from football he’s very quiet. A man of very few words,” added Durante.
“He hates, hates, hates media interviews – especially TV ones.”