New Zealand vice-captain Tim Brown could come into contention for the match against reigning world champions Italy on Sunday.

The Wellington Phoenix midfielder sat out the draw with Slovakia as he only met up with the squad in South Africa last week following surgery on his injured shoulder. Coach Ricki Herbert is pleased with the way Brown is performing in training and said: "He is progressing well.

"You know what players are like. They want to step out tomorrow but Tim is realistic. I am not going to put any pressure on him. If he's positive and comfortable around selection time, he will be considered."