Football: Durante coaxed out of international retirement for All Whites

Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante leads his team out prior to a pre-season match against A-League rivals Central Coast Mariners last week. Photo / Photosport
Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante leads his team out prior to a pre-season match against A-League rivals Central Coast Mariners last week. Photo / Photosport

Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante has been coaxed out of international retirement to make the All Whites squad for games against Mexico and the United States.

Coach Anthony Hudson has named a squad featuring eight changes from that which won the Oceania Nations Cup tournament in June, including the return of two of his most influential players.

West Ham defender Winston Reid is captain, having missed a host of recent internationals with injury or unavailability.

Also back is outstanding Dutch-based midfielder Ryan Thomas for the games against Mexico in Nashville on October 8 and the US in Washington DC three days later.

However, the PEC Zwolle playmaker is "touch and go" to play in either game after suffering a recent leg injury. The knock came not long after returning from a lengthy break following knee surgery.

Other squad members carrying niggles are defenders Declan Wynne and Kip Colvey.

In better health is Australian-born central defender Durante, 34, who was capped nine times by his adopted country before hanging up his international boots last year.

Convinced to return, he is one of four Phoenix players in the squad who will be unavailable for the start of the A-League season.

Chesterfield right back Liam Graham is the only new cap, covering an area hit hard by injury. Defenders Thomas Doyle, Louis Fenton, and Storm Roux were all unavailable, along with French-based midfielder Bill Tuiloma.

There is no place for veteran strikers Shane Smeltz and Jeremy Brockie, nor goalkeeper Glen Moss.

Dropped from the Nations Cup squad are Brockie and striker Logan Rogerson, midfielder Luka Prelevic, defender Luke Adams and goalkeeper Max Crocombe.

US-based stopper Jake Gleeson is recalled, along with Vancouver defender Wynne and midfielders Clayton Lewis and Henry Cameron.

Auckland-based Lewis, 19, has served his month-long suspension after recording a high reading for common asthma drug Ventolin (salbutamol) following a domestic match.

Hudson describes the two matches in October as crucial in the team's bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

"We have missed a number of players for a long time now so it is great to have our captain back and some of the other names we have been missing," Hudson said.

"We have a strong squad barring one or two injuries and we are pleased to get them back together for two very good games."

Hudson says Reid is excited at the chance to add to his 19 All Whites caps and, while injured, has been in regular contact to see how the team is developing.

Hudson hopes Leeds striker Chris Wood can continue his sparkling form in the English second tier when he returns.

Wood's last international was the Nations Cup semi-final, having pulled out of the final to attend his sister's wedding.

All Whites squad

Goalkeepers: Stefan Marinovic, Tamati Williams, Jake Gleeson.

Defenders: Andrew Durante, Sam Brotherton, Michael Boxall, Kip Colvey, Themi Tzimopoulos, Winston Reid, Declan Wynne, Liam Graham.

Midfielders: Clayton Lewis, Michael McGlinchey, Matt Ridenton, Te Atawhai Wihongi, Henry Cameron, Moses Dyer, Ryan Thomas.

Forwards: Kosta Barbarouses, Chris Wood, Monty Patterson, Marco Rojas, Rory Fallon.

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