Football: Former Manchester United defender Scott Wootten joins Wellington Phoenix for A-League campaign

Veteran defender Scott Wootten - who played four games under legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United - will join Wellington Phoenix, as they try to resurrect their reeling A-League season.

Well-travelled Wootten, 30, has played more than 200 games across the various levels of English football, including a handful of appearances at Old Trafford during the icon's final season in 2012.

Most recently, he turned out for third-division Morcambe 'Shrimps', before fielding an offer to join the Phoenix, who have lost their last four outings in Australia.

"I'll do everything I can to help the club win games," Wootton says. "From the research I've done and people I've spoken to, the club has got a lot of talent, and obviously it's in a difficult position at the minute and not where it wants to be.

"I hope my experience can help that, improve the team and improve the results on the pitch.

"I'm a good talker, I'm a good communicator, and first and foremost, that’s how I’ll try and put my stamp on the team.

"Hopefully, I can bring that bit of calmness and that experience at the back to help the team."

Wellington lost much of that assurance, when captain Steven Taylor 'retired' during the pre-season, leaving a roster with an average age of just 22.

Stranded across the Tasman by COVID-19, the Phoenix have seen games postponed, as the coronavirus rips through their ranks. Their next two fixtures against Newcastle and Perth have been delayed, after eight players tested positive and three others were deemed close contacts. 

The Phoenix first crossed Wootten's radar during a three-year stint at Leeds United, where All Whites striker Chris Wood was his teammate.

"My first daughter was just one and the timing wasn’t quite right for that move," he says. "This time, the timing is absolutely perfect.

"It's the perfect step I feel in my career… and I couldn't be happier to be joining the Phoenix at this moment.

"The chance to go and play in the A-League is one I just couldn't turn down.

"I've got loads of friends who have played there, I know members of staff who have coached and managed over there, and they all spoke so highly about the quality, the standard and the athleticism.

"When comparing it to England, they say it's about Championship level, which is great for me."

Wootten is expected to join the Phoenix when the transfer window opens next week.