All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen has withdrawn from Thursday's (NZT) friendly with China with niggling ankle and knee injuries.
Nelsen and medical staff at his English Premier League club Queen's Park Rangers have been managing the injuries for the past month and he has not trained the club between matches.
Nelsen has been captaining the struggling West London club this season and played 90 minutes for Rangers in their defeat to Stoke City on Sunday morning (NZT).
The club is now firmly entrenched in last place in the league with just four points from 11 games this season.
Their next game is a crucial clash against Southampton on Sunday morning (NZT).
Southampton are currently sitting just one point and one place above Rangers on the table.
Seventeen-year-old Cameron Howieson has been called up to the squad and will travel from his Burnley home overnight to link up the rest of the All Whites squad in Shanghai on Tuesday.
New Zealand Football High Performance Director Fred de Jong said it was important Nelsen's fitness was not compromised by playing for the All Whites.
"It's not unique for a team to manage their athletes as best as they can, Ryan is 35 years old and we want to do all we can to make sure he is fit to play in our FIFA World Cup qualifiers in March and again in November next year if necessary."
The last of the England-based All Whites arrive in Shanghai on Tuesday, with the match scheduled to kick off at 12.30am Thursday (NZT).
- © Fairfax NZ News