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All Whites may pinch NZ under-20s

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/05/2017 Angelo Risso

The All Whites will pull players out of their under-20 squad's World Cup tilt if deemed necessary for Confederations Cup success.

Five capped All Whites, including playmaker Clayton Lewis and striker Logan Rogerson, have travelled to South Korea for this year's under-20 tournament and toiled to a 0-0 draw with Vietnam on Monday.

They'll play Honduras and France in their other Group E matches.

Yet senior coach Anthony Hudson, who will name a 23-man squad for pre-Confederations Cup friendlies against Northern Ireland and Belarus on Friday, told reporters he'd consider naming the occupied under-20 players.

While the under-20 World Cup wouldn't clash with the Confederations Cup, it was important to unite New Zealand's best squad as soon as possible.

"We just need to see how we're going in their next games, and flights and that sort of thing - but really, the Northern Ireland game, we don't have the luxury of it being a friendly," Hudson said.

"It's an important part of (our) Confederations Cup, and the Confederations Cup is important for (2018 World Cup qualifiers in) September and November.

"It's all one game at a time, but it's all working back from November."

Most A-League-based All Whites are taking part in an Auckland training camp this week, with those selected for the two European friendlies set to meet their overseas-based counterparts in Belfast next week.

They'll then have six days together before taking on the world No.26-ranked Northern Irish, who made last year's Euro 2016 round-of-16, on June 3 (NZT).

A match against Belarus will follow 10 days later.

Hudson said his touring squad was "95 per cent" complete on Tuesday, with just a handful of players still staking their claim for a plane seat.

The final Confederations Cup tournament squad would then be confirmed after the Northern Ireland and Belarus matches.

It was the perfect preparation for their first-up Group A match against Cup hosts Russia, according to Hudson.

"Both with similar traits to Russia - look to hit you on the break, (Belarus) probably try and play a little more football than Northern Ireland, but certainly counter-attack for them is important," Hudson said.

"We need those tests, those relevant tests."

New Zealand have also drawn Mexico and a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal in the tournament, which begins on June 18 (NZT).

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