All Whites understrength for friendly match

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 11:01 01/05/2014
Winston Reid
TEAUKURA MOETAUA/ Getty
THE EYES HAVE IT: Winston Reid will make his first All Whites appearance of the year against Uzbekistan tomorrow.

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An understrength All Whites side will tackle South Africa in Auckland on May 30.

England-based stars Winston Reid, Chris Wood and Tommy Smith have elected to skip the friendly match at Mt Smart Stadium.

The game falls outside Fifa's international window, meaning New Zealand Football cannot force players to turn out for their country.

West Ham United defender Reid, Leicester City striker Wood and Ipswich Town defender Smith will remain in England to rest after busy club seasons.

While that is a blow for NZF's hopes of attracting a bumper crowd, there will be plenty of interest in PEC Zwolle midfielder Ryan Thomas, fresh from his two-goal heroics in the Dutch Cup final against Ajax.

VfB Stuttgart winger Marco Rojas returns to the squad after withdrawing from last month's international in Japan through injury.

There are two new caps in Wellington Phoenix midfielder Matt Ridenton and unattached defender Luke Adams.

Adams' selection is a surprise after he was released by the Phoenix last month, but he gets a chance because of a niggling injury to Ben Sigmund.

Backup goalkeeper Tamati Williams (Auckland City) has been picked ahead of Jacob Spoonley (Team Wellington).

"The process of building experience in individual players and cohesion across the group began against Japan and continues with the group [interim coach] Neil [Emblen] has selected for South Africa," NZF high-performance director Fred de Jong said.

"The experience of the last campaign has shown that for a [World Cup] playoff series in 2017 we will need a strong group of players that have had significant experience at this level.

"This match is perfect to give these players this opportunity."

Emblen said: "As a coach, you're excited by the attacking options we have now and the speed of movement and passing that we showed at times last month against a very good side off to a World Cup [4-2 loss to Japan in March].

"We've added another couple of young faces in Matt Ridenton and Luke Adams, who deserve the opportunity to show they can be part of the All Whites' path to Russia, and there are still some experienced players around them to help them rise to the challenge of international football."

ALL WHITES SQUAD: (caps/goals/club)

Goalkeepers - Glen Moss (captain, 27/0, Wellington Phoenix), Tamati Williams (0/0, Auckland City).

Defenders - Luke Adams (0/0, unattached), Michael Boxall (8/0, Phoenix), Andrew Durante (7/0, Phoenix), Storm Roux (2/0, Central Coast Mariners), Bill Tuiloma (3/0, Olympique de Marseille).

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Midfielders - Cameron Howieson (7/0, Burnley, Chris James (17/2, unattached), Michael McGlinchey (26/3, Vegalta Sendai), Matt Ridenton (0/0, Phoenix), Marco Rojas (17/1,Vfb Stuttgart), Tim Payne (9/2, Blackburn Rovers), Ryan Thomas (1/0, PEC Zwolle).

Forwards - Kosta Barbarouses (25/2, Melbourne Victory), Tyler Boyd (1/0, Phoenix), Jeremy Brockie (43/0, Phoenix), Shane Smeltz (50/23, Perth Glory).

- Stuff

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