Soccer: Herbert springs formation surprise

The All Whites will experiment with a new formation for their international match with China in Shanghai tonight which uses Marco Rojas in a wide-attacking position. Photo / Getty Images.
The All Whites will experiment with a new formation for their international match with China in Shanghai tonight which uses Marco Rojas in a wide-attacking position. Photo / Getty Images.

The All Whites will experiment with a new formation for their international match against China in Shanghai tonight (weds in to thur, nzt) and Dan Keat will earn his first start for the national side.

Coach Ricki Herbert is trialling a youthful looking 4-1-4-1 formation with LA Galaxy's Keat set to operate as a defensive shield for the back four.

"We haven't seen Dan start a match before so it's a big opportunity for him to stake a claim,'' said Herbert.

Chris Wood will provide the attack with a pivot allowing Kosta Barbarouses and Marco Rojas to provide width and support, along with Michael McGlinchey and Tim Payne who will play centrally but will push forward where possible.

"It's a young and exciting forward line who will be encouraged to attack,'' said Herbert.

There is a solid look to the back four with Ben Sigmund slotting in at right back, Winston Reid and Tommy Smith will pair up centrally and Tony Lochhead will play at left back.

Mark Paston has been given the nod to start in goal.

"On paper we look solid at the back and it gives us an opportunity to put at Ben in at right back and see how that looks defensively,'' said Herbert.

With no fewer than nine All Whites walking the suspension tightrope for the World Cup qualifiers in March and potentially beyond the selections will give Herbert the opportunity to see the depth of his squad in the international environment.

"There's no (Ryan) Nelsen, (Chris) Killen, (Shane) Smeltz and (Ivan) Vicelich starting in this match who you would argue are all front line players, so it's a test of our depth for sure,'' said Herbert.

China is currently ranked 88th with New Zealand just below them in 92nd.

China's last international match was a pair of losses in the September window losing 1-0 and 8-0 to Sweden and Brazil respectively.

New Zealand is unbeaten in their last four matches across the September and October windows. This match is New Zealand's last international for 2012 with the crucial World Cup qualifiers set for March next year.

The match kicks off at Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium at 12.15am tomorrow morning (NZT).

New Zealand: Mark Paston (gk), Winston Reid, Tony Lochhead, Ben Sigmund, Tommy Smith (c), Michael McGlinchey, Marco Rojas, Dan Keat, Kosta Barbarouses, Tim Payne, Chris Wood. Substitutes: Leo Bertos, Shane Smeltz, Glen Moss (gk), Ivan Vicelich, Jeremy Brockie, Cameron Howieson

China (from): Cheng Zeng (gk), Zheng Zheng, Xiang Sun, Peng Zhao, Linpeng Zhang, Xiaoting Feng, Xuri Zhao, Junmin Hao, Xu Yang, Zhi Zheng, Dabao Yu, Xiaofeng Geng (gk), Jianye Liu, Renliang Feng, Bo Xu, Jian Lu, Lin Gao, Peng Pv, Hanchao Yu, Hai Yu, Dalei Wang (gk), Shneg Qin, Yang Yu, Ting Zhu

- APNZ

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