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Hudson sticks with regulars for NZ squad

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/05/2017 Angelo Risso

All Whites boss Anthony Hudson has thrown few curveballs with his squad for pre-Confederations Cup friendlies against Northern Ireland and Belarus, mostly sticking with his tried-and-true to get the job done.

In what will almost certainly be Hudson's 23-man Confederations Cup squad, only the inclusion of 17-year-old wingback Dane Ingham comes as any surprise.

The Australian-born defender earned his Kiwi debut in 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Fiji in March, and has impressed Hudson with his composure and pace.

He'll likely compete with Central Coast Mariners right back Storm Roux, who returns to the international fold after two years away, for a starting berth in Russia.

Brother Jai, however, has been left out of the squad.

"He is quick and he is strong for a 17-year-old," Hudson said.

"The qualities I am looking for are character and bravery, and he showed that immensely on his debut for the (Brisbane) Roar and the All Whites - I don't think anything at the Confederations Cup is going to faze him."

Elsewhere, Wellington Phoenix flyer Kosta Barbarouses makes a timely return to the international fold after being omitted for the side's qualifiers against Fiji.

The 27-year-old winger was surprisingly left out of the qualifiers after some shaky A-League form but has since improved enough to earn a recall.

Hudson praised Barbarouses' mental fortitude.

"The most pleasing thing for me was, since the conversation we had after he missed the March window, his performances were really strong, he scored some goals and played really well - he was doing things that I was looking for previously," Hudson said.

"On his day he can hurt any national team in the world."

Barbarouses has been named alongside fellow forwards Monty Patterson, stand-in skipper Chris Wood and veteran Shane Smeltz for the two matches, while Melbourne Victory ace Marco Rojas is likely to resume his auxiliary-forward role.

Further back, Alex Rufer has earned a call-up but is unlikely to get much game time, with the likes of Bill Tuiloma, Mike McGlinchey and Clayton Lewis midfield mainstays.

The Winston Reid-less backline, meanwhile, is likely to be plugged by Andrew Durante, Tommy Smith and Themi Tzimopoulos - with the likes of Michael Boxall, Sam Brotherton and Kip Colvey also among the selection fray.

The final squad for the Confederations Cup, where the All Whites will play Mexico, Portugal and hosts Russia, will be officially announced on June 8.

"We are focused on the task at hand, we're not going to get carried away with who we are playing - we know they're top teams but we are a strong team," Hudson said.

"We want to go further than any New Zealand team has ever gone.

"We are serious that we want to go there and do something significant, and we believe that we will."

ALL WHITES:

GOALKEEPERS: Stefan Marinovic, Tamati Williams, Glen Moss.

DEFENDERS: Andrew Durante, Tom Doyle, Storm Roux, Michael Boxall, Kip Colvey, Themi Tzimopoulos, Deklan Wynne, Sam Brotherton, Tommy Smith, Dane Ingham.

MIDFIELDERS: Bill Tuiloma, Clayton Lewis, Mike McGlinchey, Ryan Thomas, Marco Rojas, Alex Rufer.

FORWARDS: Chris Wood (captain), Monty Patterson, Shane Smeltz, Kosta Barbarouses.

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