Football: Callan Elliot latest departure from Wellington Phoenix, links with Greek club Xanthi FC

Another exciting football prospect is departing the Wellington Phoenix for Europe.

According to Stuff, right-back Callan Elliot is heading to Greece to link up with Xanthi FC on a three-year deal.

Elliot has been recruited by new Xanthi manager Tony Popovic, who coached against the Phoenix in Elliot's last game in the A-League - the playoff loss to Perth Glory last month. 

The 21-year-old right-back made the position his own down the final stretch of the COVID-19 infected campaign, starring for the Phoenix in their six-week stint in Australia once the season resumed.

Elliot was off-contract with the club and the report says Popovic was quick to pounce on the young New Zealander once the A-League season had concluded.

A graduate of the Paul Ifill Football Academy, Elliot made just nine appearances for the Phoenix in his first season with the club in 2018, but his excellent performances in the recently concluded campaign should have been enough to warrant a contract extension.

Wellington Phoenix General Manager, David Dome, says that the emergence of Elliot late in the season is a testament of the club’s youth development programme.

"Callan is another example of our young players excelling in the Phoenix structure under the tutelage of coach Ufuk Talay," Dome says.

"He joins a list of other young, talented footballers who we’ve helped to realise their sporting goals – whether it be with our club or overseas.

"Ufuk showed confidence in Callan by giving him key minutes late last season, which in turn helped showcase his talent to the world as well as helping the team.

"We’re happy to see Callan given an opportunity to secure a contract overseas and to continue his growth as both a football player and a person.

"We thank Callan for his contributions to the club and wish him all the best for his future.”

Elliot's departure is the fifth since the season concluded following the loss of captain Steven Taylor, Gary Hooper, Liberato Cacace and Callum McCowatt.