Fifa World Cup
Canterbury United midfielder Aaron Clapham and United States-based midfielder Jeremy Christie are the bolters in the 23 man All Whites World Cup squad named today.
Denmark-based Winston Reid joins Clapham as the other uncapped player while David Mulligan has held his place despite not playing for the Wellington Phoenix in their magical run to third place in the A-League.
Waitakere United defender Aaron Scott was the notable omission from the 18 players involved in the crucial qualifying series against Bahrain.
Clapham came to national recognition after an outstanding season in the New Zealand Football Championship, where he was named Player of the Year.
Christie's recall comes as he has been plying his trade in the United States with the Tampa Bay Rowdies since being released from his contract with the Phoenix at the end of the 2009 A League season.
All Whites coach Ricki Herbert says both Clapham and Christie deserve their selection in the World Cup squad for the tournament in South Africa.
"Aaron has come in to this group and looked very comfortable. He is the type of player that should be around the international scene for many years and he has a big future in the professional game," Herbert said.
"Jeremy has always been on the radar and I have kept in close contact with his coach at Tampa Bay. He has gone offshore to challenge himself and that has been good for him."
"I know him well and the coaching staff has worked with Jeremy over many years and we believe he will offer a great deal to the squad."
Herbert had a special word for Mulligan who has lost his contract with the Phoenix.
"David has been a victim of circumstances at the Phoenix where other players have come in and played well, keeping him out of the team. He has never stopped working hard however and his attitude has been first class."
The other player to force his way into the group is Newcastle Jets new signing Jeremy Brockie. Brockie has battled back from a broken leg, suffered during the last A League season but proved his fitness to the coaching staff over the last 10 days.
Herbert admits that leaving players out of the squad was tough.
Like Scott, young Brisbane Roar striker Costa Barbarouses was also widely tipped to make the squad but his name was misisng when NZFA chairman Frank Van Hattum read out the names at Auckland's Sky City.
"I'm not one to usually have sleepless nights but this has been a very difficult job settling on the final pieces of the jigsaw," Herbert said.
"This group of players has worked tremendously hard over the last ten days and they have all performed creditably but unfortunately we can only take a squad of 23 to South Africa."
Blackburn Rovers central defender Ryan Nelsen will captain the side in the republic. Nelsen will be joined by six other European based professionals, Rory Fallon (Plymouth), Chris Killen (Middlesbrough), Michael McGlinchey (Motherwell), Winston Reid (FC Midtjylland), Tommy Smith (Ipswich Town) and Chris Wood (West Bromwich Albion).
Van Hattum, who was a member of the 1982 World Cup squad says he's excited about this announcement.
"This is one of the finest group of players ever selected for a New Zealand team," he said.
"It is great to see so many of this team carving successful professional careers in Europe and with a large core of Wellington Phoenix professionals I believe we can go to South Africa with great hope.
"This is the World Cup Finals and no game will be easy but Ricki has put together a skilful and committed team and with that little bit of luck that every team needs, this could be an exciting time for New Zealand football and New Zealand sport," van Hattum said.
The squad reassembles in Auckland on May 19. They will travel to Melbourne on May 22 for a match against the Socceroos at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 24.
Following that match the squad will travel to Austria for a pre-World Cup camp and matches against Serbia and Slovenia, before arriving in South Africa on June 6.
Mark Paston (Wellington Phoenix). Age: 33. Caps: 23. Debut: 1997
Glen Moss (Melbourne Victory). Age: 27. Caps: 16. Debut: 2006
James Bannatyne (Team Wellington): Age: 34. Caps: 5. Debut: 2001 <p>
Ryan Nelsen (Blackburn Rovers). Age: 32. Caps: 41. Goals: 9. Debut: 1999
Ivan Vicelich (Auckland City). Age: 33. Caps: 72. Goals: 7. Debut: 1995
Ben Sigmund (Wellington Phoenix): Age: 29. Caps: 13. Goals: 1. Debut: 2000
Winston Reid (FC Midtjylland, Denmark): Age: 21. Uncapped.
Tommy Smith (Ipswich Town). Age: 20. Caps: 1. Goals: 0. Debut: 2010
Tony Lochhead (Wellington Phoenix): Age: 28. Caps: 30. Goals: 0. Debut: 2003
Andy Boyens (New York Red Bulls): Age: 26. Caps: 16. Goals: 0. Debut: 2007
Simon Elliott (unattached). Age: 35. Caps: 70. Goals: 8. Debut: 1995
Tim Brown (Wellington Phoenix): Age: 29. Caps: 28. Goals: 0. Debut: 2004
Leo Bertos (Wellington Phoenix): Age: 28. Caps: 31. Goals: 0. Debut: 2003
Michael McGlinchey (Central Coast Mariners): Age: 23. Caps: 4. Goals: 0. Debut: 2009
Aaron Clapham (Canterbury United): Age: 23. Uncapped.
David Mulligan (unattached): Age: 28. Caps: 30 Goals: 5. Debut: 2002
Jeremy Brockie (Newcastle Jets): Age: 22. Caps: 17. Goals: 0. Debut: 2006
Andy Barron (Team Wellington): Age: 29. Caps: 14. Goals: 1. Debut: 2006
Jeremy Christie (FC Tampa Bay). Age: 26. Caps: 20. Goals: 1. Debut: 2005
Chris Killen (Middlesbrough): Age: 28. Caps: 36. Goals: 17. Debut: 2000
Shane Smeltz (Gold Coast United): Age: 28
Chris Wood (West Bromwich Albion): Age: 18. Caps: 6. Goals: 0. Debut: 2009
Rory Fallon (Plymouth Argyle): Age: 28. Caps: 4. Goals: 2. Debut: 2009
- © Fairfax NZ News
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