Darren White aims for NZ Olympic squad berth
Canterbury United's star English import Darren White could have a long-term future in New Zealand football if he makes the Olympic Games squad.
The skilful midfielder – who opened his national league account with a goal in Sunday's 9-1 win over Youngheart Manawatu – has signalled he wants to play for the New Zealand Olympic under-23 team.
Canterbury coach Keith Braithwaite has been pushing White's case, saying "someone from New Zealand Football should be looking" at him.
White told The Press this week : "If I am selected in the under-23s, I will definitely stay around [in New Zealand]. If I don't, I'll probably go back to the UK."
White, a close friend of Canterbury's All Whites midfielder Cole Peverley, joined Canterbury from English southern league club Frome Town.
He is eligible to play for New Zealand because he has permanent residency. He left Auckland Grammar at 14 to join German club Hansa Rostock, playing at youth level alongside Bayern Munich and German World Cup midfielder Toni Kroos.
White played in a German national youth cup final and after 4 1/2 years in Germany, returned to England where his family had relocated.
He went to Notts County in 2008 as a triallist and played against Queen's Park Rangers, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa, but injured his cruciate ligament against Villa and dropped into the non-leagues.
White's technique and delivery certainly seem superior to some All Whites and A-League midfielders, and seasoned observers here expressed surprise he was not playing at a higher level in England.
Injury and work commitments meant he was "not in the right place at the right time".
White said he was enjoying the setup at Canterbury where the club was "on the right track" and "trying to do get as professional as we can". He is thriving on the artificial pitch at English Park and said he was "used to playing on it because we had Astroturf in Germany".
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