New Zealand have named a near-full strength squad for next month’s Oceania 2014 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers.
Only Simon Elliott and Craig Henderson were not considered due to injury with the squad featuring the majority of the line-up which competed at South Africa 2010 when New Zealand went out at the group stage without suffering defeat.
Two uncapped players have been named by All Whites coach Ricki Herbert in the 22-man squad with promising England-based teenagers Cameron Howieson (17) and Tim Payne (18) set to make their first appearance, either in the Solomon Islands or in the preceding USA-based internationals against Honduras and El Salvador.
Herbert has handed recalls to Michael Boxall, Aaron Clapham and Rory Fallon, all of whom missed out on the reduced squad for the February international against Jamaica, while fit-again goalkeeper Glen Moss also returns.
New Zealand will feature in the eight-nation OFC Nations Cup next month in the Solomons, with the tournament doubling as Round Two Brazil 2014 qualifiers.
The top four nations will progress to the third and final Oceania stage, while the winner will qualify for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The All Whites face Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the hosts in their Nations Cup group.
Herbert is very clear about the priorities among a busy period which would see them play seven internationals in 18 days if they make the final of the OFC Nations Cup.
“First and foremost, we aim to reach the semi-finals of the Nations Cup to book a place in the next stage of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying,” said Herbert, “Then we look at winning the next two games to defend our Nations Cup title and qualify for the Confederations Cup.”
“If we do that we’ll have five games in nine days in the Honiara heat so we will need to manage the paying stocks well and be at the top of our game to navigate some testing fixtures.”
New Zealand squad
Goalkeepers: Jake GLEESON (Portland Timbers/USA)*, Glen Moss (Wellington Phoenix), Mark PASTON (Wellington Phoenix)
Defenders: Michael Boxall (Vancouver Whitecaps/Canada), Tony LOCHHEAD (Wellington Phoenix), Ryan NELSEN (captain, Tottenham Hotspur/England), Winston REID (West Ham/England), Ben SIGMUND (Wellington Phoenix), Tommy SMITH (Ipswich Town/England), Ivan VICELICH (Auckland City)
Midfielders: Leo BERTOS (Wellington Phoenix), Jeremy BROCKIE (Wellington Phoenix), Aaron Clapham (Canterbury United), Cameron Howieson (Burnley/England), Dan KEAT (Los Angeles Galaxy/USA), Michael MCGLINCHEY (Central Coast Mariners/Australia), Tim Payne (Blackburn Rovers/England), Marco ROJAS (Melbourne Victory/Australia)
Forwards: Kosta BARBAROUSES (Alania Vladikavkaz/Russia), Rory Fallon (Aberdeen/Scotland), Chris KILLEN (Chongqing/China PR), Shane SMELTZ (Perth Glory/Australia), Chris WOOD (West Bromwich Albion/England)
* USA tour only