West Ham line up their big guns for visit to NZ
Former England internationals Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing are among a full-strength West Ham United squad for next month's Football United Tour of New Zealand.
Towering striker Carroll has nine caps and two goals for England and hit the headlines in 2011 when Liverpool paid £35 million (NZ$68.5m) to obtain his services from Newcastle United.
At the time it was the highest amount paid for a British footballer.
Carroll has scored nine goals in 39 appearances for West Ham since his arrival, initially on loan, in 2012.
Winger Downing has played 34 times for England and also joined West Ham from Liverpool.
West Ham have no players at the World Cup but their 21-man squad includes a host of proven English Premier League performers, including skipper Kevin Nolan, midfielder Mark Noble and All Whites defender Winston Reid.
West Ham, managed by larger than life "Big Sam" Allardyce, play the Phoenix at Auckland's Eden Park on July 23 and Sydney FC at Wellington's Westpac Stadium in the first game of the July 26 double-header.
The Phoenix are also hoping that beloved former England and Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham makes the trip to New Zealand.
Sheringham, who scored 288 goals in a 755-game senior career, was employed by West Ham last month as the club's attacking coach.
Meanwhile, Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick said the door was still open for off-contract striker Paul Ifill, who is recovering a ruptured Achilles.
"Paul is determined to get involved again in football and preferably at our club," Merrick said.
"We'll give him every opportunity."
Off-contract defender Shaun Timmins remains on the radar if he can secure Australian citizenship.
Merrick also confirmed that Kenny Cunningham would revert to his preferred position in the 2014-15 A-League.
"Kenny is an attacking, wide player, that's his best role. We struggled for central midfielders [last season] and I converted him ... But his key position is a wide, high striker/winger and he'll predominantly go back to that position."
There are six school of excellence players participating in pre-season training, along with academy player James McGarry, the son of former All Whites star Michael McGarry.
West Ham touring squad: Andy Carroll, Leo Chambers, Carlton Cole, James Collins, Guy Demel, Mohamed Diame, Stewart Downing, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Matthew Jarvis, Modibo Maiga, Ravel Morrison, Mark Noble, Kevin Nolan, Joey O'Brien, Winston Reid, Adrian, Raphael Spiegel, James Tomkins, Ricardo Vaz Te, Mauro Zarate, Danny Whitehead.
The Dominion Post