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Barbarouses surges back to NZ fore

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/05/2017 Angelo Risso

All Whites flyer Kosta Barbarouses has labelled his omission from 2018 World Cup qualifiers in March a "wake-up call" as he looks to use this week's Auckland training camp as a springboard for Confederations Cup selection.

The 27-year-old winger was surprisingly left out of the Kiwi squad's home-and-away qualifiers against Fiji after some ordinary Wellington Phoenix domestic form.

But with his late-season A-League form ticking upwards, and five Nix goals and assists to his name, Barbarouses has earned a chance to shine once again.

He and 11 other mostly A-League-based players will train under the watchful eye of coach Anthony Hudson this week, before a 23-man pre-Confederations Cup squad is announced on Friday for friendlies against Northern Ireland and Belarus.

A final tournament squad will be named after these friendlies.

Barbarouses said any disagreements with Hudson had been well and truly swept under the rug, as he fights for a spot on the plane to Russia.

"I had a good reaction to the last camp, towards the end of the season my form was good, so I think I've deserved that and it's come from hard work," Barbarouses said.

"(The Phoenix) got off to a pretty slow start, and I think the pleasing thing was that my good form sort of coincided with a run of games we did quite well in."

Barbarouses said the early stages of camp on Auckland's North Shore had been fought at "100 miles an hour", with each player keen to make an impression.

Hudson, meanwhile, says it is impossible to leave Barbarouses out of his squad on current form and suggests a Confederations Cup berth may already be sealed.

His incisive running from the flank and finishing could prove valuable against dangerous opponents, as New Zealand gear up for Russia, Mexico and Portugal.

"I know Kosta well enough to know what he can do," Hudson said.

"I want him at his best all the time."

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