Soccer: New Zealand 'A' named to face Jordan

Neil Emblen has confirmed his New Zealand 'A' squad that will face Jordan at North Harbour Stadium next Tuesday. Photo / Getty Images.
Neil Emblen has confirmed his New Zealand 'A' squad that will face Jordan at North Harbour Stadium next Tuesday. Photo / Getty Images.

Neil Emblen has confirmed his New Zealand 'A' squad that will face Jordan at North Harbour Stadium next Tuesday.

Although blessed with over 150 'A' international caps throughout the 16 man squad Emblen is under no illusions about the quality of the opposition for the match.

"Jordan has played 20 full internationals since January last year and beaten Japan and Australia amongst that. They're on the verge of qualifying for Brazil and have a crucial match against the Socceroos the week after so they'll be a very, very good side," said Emblen.

The All Whites assistant coach is no stranger to Middle East opposition after guiding his Oly Whites side in international matches against Saudi Arabia and UAE in the lead up to the London Olympics.

"At international level they're all impressive athletes, and have gifted, technical players, but from what I've seen of Jordan on DVD they're quite a physical side as well," said Emblen.

Seven of the squad played for the All Whites in the final FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Solomon Islands, and the experience levels are boosted by 86-cap veteran Ivan Vicelich, fresh from winning the OFC Champions League with Auckland City.

While Vicelich is a mainstay in the national squad, the match provides a stage for several players to force their way into Ricki Herbert's All Whites thinking ahead of potential matches in the August, September and October windows.

"I think it's an opportunity for individuals to put their hands up and push their claims to be involved in the group for any matches going forward," said Emblen.

"Ricki [Herbert] will be watching from the stand, and the aim for the players on the pitch will be to make it hard for him to leave them out of the next All Whites squad.

"As a coach back in New Zealand you wonder how players are developing overseas that are within professional environments, but playing outside of the first team. We can chart the progress of Winston Reid, Tommy Smith and Chris Wood because we can watch their matches. But we don't get to see guys like James Musa at Fulham U-21's or Hereford, or Cam Howieson in the Burnley youth side," said Emblen.

The former professional endorses the development aspects of the New Zealand 'A' concept with the All Whites established internationals given time off before a heavy schedule leading into the intercontinental playoff in November.

"Look at a guy like Louis Fenton, he's had a great year with the Wellington Phoenix, but we're blessed with talented players in similar positions already like Marco [Rojas] and Kosta [Barbarouses]. If one of those players gets injured down the line, Louis will have had a taste of international football and has a better insight into what he needs to compete at that level," said Emblen.

Fenton is one of four Junior All Whites named in the squad and will depart for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey next week.

New Zealand 'A' v Jordan
North Harbour Stadium, Auckland
Tuesday, June 4
Kickoff: 7.30pm
Referee: Nick WALDRON

New Zealand 'A': 1-Scott BASALAJ, 2-Andrew DURANTE, 3-Aaron SCOTT, 4-Tim MYERS, 6-Ian HOGG, 7-Cameron HOWIESON, 8-Cameron LINDSAY, 9-Luke ROWE, 10-Aaron CLAPHAM, 11-Jake BUTLER, 12-Jacob SPOONLEY (gk), 14-Jeremy CHRISTIE, 15-Ivan VICELICH, 16-Louis FENTON, 17-Tyler BOYD, 18-James MUSA
Coach: Neil EMBLEN

- APNZ

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