Five Phoenix players recognised by peers in A League team of the year

Five Phoenix players have been named in the A-League players team of the year.

The team is selected on votes from players, with Phoenix goalkeeper Alex Paulsen, midfielder Alex Rufer and defenders Scott Wootten and Tim Payne all named in the starting 11, while striker Kosta Barbarouses is named in the reserves.

At the end of each season, PFA members from the A-Leagues are asked to vote on their best XI.

The composition of the team is based on the number of votes tallied for each player in each position, with the substitutes bench comprising those players who finished below those in the starting XI positions.

Paulsen received the most votes from his peers, with a stand out season which has helped the Phoenix through to the semi-finals and chasing their first grand final berth in the 17-year history of the club.

The 21-year-old kept 11 clean sheets, and registered a league-high save percentage of 80.9 percent.

Paulsen has saved three of the five penalties he faced this season.

“It’s very humbling to receive the most votes from my peers … there’s a lot of incredible talent within the league so this is a great honour,” Paulsen said.

The Phoenix had the league’s best defensive record during the regular season conceding only 26 goals, which resulted in defender Wooten and Payne making the PFA’s team of the year starting lineup.

Skipper Alex Rufer is included having provided a steadying presence in the middle of the park for the side all season.

Striker Barbarouses is in the team for the third time, while Giancarlo Italiano in his first season as head coach was voted to manage the side.

Italiano took over from Ufuk Talay in the off-season, after serving as his assistant at the Phoenix, and made an immediate impact, taking Wellington into second place on the standings.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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