The five-cap Kiwi international says he’s happy to learn from last season’s grand finalists but won’t be shrinking at the end of the line when it comes to handing out starts.
Ridenton left Wellington Phoenix after five years to kick-start the next stage of his development and hopefully cement his spot in the All Whites.
“Obviously everyone has to earn their spot in any team you go to,” the 22-year-old said.
“Coming here that’s a hard thing to do…coming into a team that made the Grand Final, that hasn’t changed much – and at the moment has only a few new players - that already has their combinations.
“But that’s another job of mine – to push these players every day in training and they’re going to have to earn their spot as well as me.”
For a team that suffered a horror injury run last season, Merrick puts a premium of adaptability and Ridenton fits the bill perfectly.
His preferred position might be an eight or six, but that hasn’t stopped the boss from pushing the limits of his flexibility.
“Even this preseason I was playing No. 10 when Ronny (Vargas) and Dimi (Petratos) were away at the start, I’ve played left wing as well,” Ridenton said.
“I’ll play my own game in any of those positions but I think everyone in the midfield and up front is very flexible and we can rotate around.”
Ridenton said he’s gaining valuable insight from the partnership of Steven Ugarkovic and Ben Kantarovski.
“They’ve been really successful,” he said. “Every game I’m learning how they play and learning to play with them and hopefully I can help them out.
“(We’ve got) top class players – Dimi’s just been to a World Cup and Ronny’s CV tells you that.
“Obviously a goal of mine to be in the national team. I think if I’m playing the best level I can be that will help me towards that.
“If I just focus on club football, can play around these players and learn off them, then that’s going to help me develop in the future.”