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Three new caps for Football Ferns

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/02/2017
Readings is keen to see what his world No.19 team can do when they face 21st-ranked Scotland, Austria (No.24) and 18th-ranked South Korea at the Cyprus Cup. © USA Today Readings is keen to see what his world No.19 team can do when they face 21st-ranked Scotland, Austria (No.24) and 18th-ranked South Korea at the Cyprus Cup.

Coach Tony Readings has named three new caps in his latest squad as the Football Ferns rebuild towards the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Readings has also included plenty of experience in the team which will contest next month's Cyprus Cup, naming five players with more than 100 internationals for New Zealand.

Skipper Abby Erceg is joined by seasoned veterans Amber Hearn, Ria Percival, Ali Riley and Kirsty Yallop, providing plenty of leadership for newcomers Anna Leat, Malia Steinmetz and Martine Puketapu.

Goalkeeper Leat and midfielder Steinmetz were standouts at the under-17 World Cup, while forward Puketapu featured at the under-20 World Cup.

Readings is keen to see what his world No.19 team can do when they face 21st-ranked Scotland, Austria (No.24) and 18th-ranked South Korea at the Cyprus Cup.

It will be the first time the New Zealanders have assembled since last year's Rio Olympics, where they beat Colombia 1-0 but lost 0-3 to France and 0-2 to the US in pool play.

Readings says the team's primary focus will be on the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics.

"Every time we represent New Zealand we want to win football matches, but the main focus for us has to be building towards those tournaments.

"So the goal is building while winning at the same time."

Readings expected a different challenge from each of the three nations they will face in Cyprus.

"Scotland will be strong, they have just qualified for their first Euros, and they will be looking to peak for that," he said.

"Austria are an emerging team and have some key players that we need to nullify. Korea Republic we have played a few times and we know they are technically very gifted players and are going to cause us problems."

It will be great for the younger players to see these different styles and have to adapt."

Football Ferns: Goalkeepers: Anna Leat, Erin Nayler. Defenders: CJ Bott, Abby Erceg, Anna Green, Meikayla Moore, Ria Percival, Ali Riley, Rebekah Stott. Midfielders: Katie Bowen, Daisy Cleverley, Betsy Hassett, Annalie Longo, Malia Steinmetz, Kirsty Yallop. Forwards: Amber Hearn, Jasmine Pereira, Aimee Phillips, Martine Puketapu, Paige Satchell, Rosie White, Hannah Wilkinson.

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