Soccer: Young duo named in All Whites squad

The All Whites will play Honduras and El Salvador before heading to the OFC Nations Cup in the Solomon Islands. Photo / Richard Robinson.
The All Whites will play Honduras and El Salvador before heading to the OFC Nations Cup in the Solomon Islands. Photo / Richard Robinson.

All Whites coach Ricki Herbert has found room in an otherwise full-strength 22-man squad to call up promising England-based youngsters Cameron Howieson and Tim Payne for the OFC Nations Cup in the Solomon Islands and internationals against Honduras and El Salvador.

Herbert has handed recalls to Michael Boxall, Aaron Clapham and Rory Fallon, all of whom missed out on the reduced squad for the friendly against Jamaica in February, while fit-again goalkeeper Glen Moss also returns.

He has also included teenagers Payne (18) and Howieson (17) with one eye on their All Whites future and one on the London Olympics.

Payne and Howieson both played at the FIFA U-17 World Cup last year with Payne also getting a call up to the New Zealand squad for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, before both took up offers in England with Blackburn and Burnley respectively.

"Tim and Cameron have both done well to get themselves to professional clubs and Cameron has made his senior debut recently which just continues the promise both players have shown at age group level," Herbert said.

"We want to get them in and give them a taste of the environment to see if they can make the step the up to international football for the All Whites and the Olympic team."

The All Whites play the two internationals against CONCACAF opposition in Texas in late May as another potential glimpse of opposition in a World Cup playoff in November 2013, but the first step of that World Cup path starts in the Solomon Islands with the eight nations OFC Nations Cup.

The All Whites play Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the hosts in pool play with the Nations Cup champion representing Oceania at next year's FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.
The tournament's semi-finalists also progress to the third stage of FIFA World Cup qualifying held during windows in September, October and March. The winner of that stage meets the fourth placed team from CONCACAF for a place at the 2014 World Cup finals.

Herbert is very clear about the priorities among a busy period which would see them play seven internationals in 18 days if they make the final of the OFC Nations Cup.

"First and foremost, we aim to reach the semi-finals of the Nations Cup to book a place in the next stage of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying, said Herbert, "then we look at winning the next two games to defend our Nations Cup title and qualify for the Confederations Cup."

"If we do that we'll have five games in nine days in the Honiara heat so we will need to manage the paying stocks well and be at the top of our game to navigate some testing fixtures."

Of the squad named, Tony Lochhead (honeymoon), Rory Fallon (pursuing coaching badges) and Ryan Nelsen (post season break) have been excused from the USA leg of the tour which falls outside of the FIFA international window.

All Whites squad
* OFC Nations Cup only
** USA tour only

Goalkeepers
Jake Gleeson (Portland Timbers, USA)**
Glen Moss (Wellington Phoenix)
Mark Paston (Wellington Phoenix)

Defenders
Michael Boxall (Vancouver Whitecaps, CAN)
Tony Lochhead (Wellington Phoenix)*
Ryan Nelsen (captain, Tottenham Hotspur, ENG)*
Winston Reid (West Ham, ENG)
Ben Sigmund (Wellington Phoenix)
Tommy Smith (Ipswich Town, ENG)
Ivan Vicelich (Auckland City)

Midfielders
Leo Bertos (Wellington Phoenix)
Jeremy Brockie (Wellington Phoenix)
Aaron Clapham (Canterbury United)
Cameron Howieson (Burnley, ENG)
Dan Keat (Los Angeles Galaxy, USA)
Michael McGlinchey (Central Coast Mariners, AUS)
Tim Payne (Blackburn Rovers, ENG)
Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory, AUS)

Forwards
Kosta Barbarouses (Alania Vladikavkaz, RUS)
Rory Fallon (Aberdeen, SCO)
Chris Killen (Chongqing, CHN)
Shane Smeltz (Perth Glory, AUS)
Chris Wood (West Bromwich Albion, ENG)

All Whites Schedule:

USA Tour: New Zealand v El Salvador, May 23, 2012, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, USA, 8.30pm local (12.30pm May 24 NZT); New Zealand v Honduras, May 26, 2012, Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, USA, 8.30pm local (12.30pm May 27 NZT)

OFC Nations Cup/FIFA World Cup qualifying 2-10 June 2012, Honiara, Solomon Islands.

New Zealand v Fiji, Lawson Tama Stadium, June 2, 12pm. New Zealand v PNG, Lawson Tama Stadium, June 4, 12pm. New Zealand v Solomon Islands, Lawson Tama Stadium, June 6, 3pm. Semifinals: June 8, 11am & 3pm. Final: June 10, 3pm.

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