Words: ACFC Media
Monday 4 November 2019
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - AUCKLAND CITY FC is pleased to confirm the signing of New Zealand international Clayton Lewis.
The 22-year-old rejoins the Navy Blues after two years with English League Two club Scunthorpe United.
"I'm looking forward to starting the season with Auckland City FC and at international level I want to keep pushing for the All Whites and the U-23 team in July and I'm going to strive to get there.
"My long term goal is to play at the highest level I can and I know there will be some tough roads ahead. The last two years have been tough not playing as much as I would've liked and to come back, reset and regain my confidence is the aim," Lewis told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
AUDIO - Jose Figueira on signing Clayton Lewis
Lewis signed for Scunthorpe United in 2017 where he went on to make 18 appearances across two seasons but the 14-cap All Whites international says he's eager to put what he's learned in the professional game to good use with the Tokyo Olympic Games just around the corner.
"The best memories for me were to meet new people and learn about what English football is like. You see what English football is like from afar but when you're in it it's even tougher than you think. "That was a big learning curve for me and I'll definitely miss my two best mates at Scunthorpe United in Levi Sutton and Lewis Butroid who I'll hopefully catch up with at the end of the season," he said.
The Wellington-born midfielder was an integral part of the Auckland City FC success story during his last spell with two OFC Champions League, one ISPS Handa Premiership and two Charity Cup victories.
He pulled on the Navy Blues jersey 52 times, scoring 16 goals. He was also a standout performer for Auckland City FC at the FIFA Club World Cup in the narrow 2-1 loss to then J-League champions Kashima Antlers in 2016.
While Lewis sees his past experiences as an advantage, he's also eager to play under new coach Jose Figueira.
AUDIO: Clayton Lewis opens up on his return to New Zealand
"Last time I was at City Ramon Tribulietx was in charge and he was a great coach. But now with Jose I've watched him build a side at Team Wellington and I like the style of play he's brought in and I'm looking forward to playing under him and to pull on the Navy Blue colours again."
The timing of Lewis' return couldn't come at a better moment for Figueira who has given Auckland City FC more of a homegrown flavour this season with fellow All Whites Logan Rogerson, Adam Mitchell, Myer Bevan and Cam Howieson already in situ.
"I'm delighted to welcome Clayton Lewis back to Auckland City FC. Clayton's a player who knows the club really well. He made a really big mark at Auckland City FC and in the ISPS Handa Premiership before he made his move to the professional game with Scunthorpe United.
"He's going to add a lot of quality and experience on the pitch but he also fits the mould of young exciting Kiwi players.
"He's going to be moving into a team already home to players he's familiar with on the international scene with the All Whites and New Zealand U-23s and he already has connections with current Auckland City FC players he's already played alongside which will mean a quick and easy transtion for Clayton.
"On a personal level I'm excited to be working with a top class player he's going to give us depth and strength in the mid two attacking lines in the team.
"He can play a number of positional slots across those lines and increases the competition for places in those positions I'm really excited and I know Clayton himself is eager to get back and get stuck into his work and kickstart his career again."
Name: Clayton Lewis
Club appearances: 52
Club goals: 16
Club debut: v Wellington Phoenix (A) won 3-1, 22 November 2015.
International caps: 14
International goals: 0
International debut: v Korea Republic (A) lost 0-1, 31 March 2015.