Thursday, December 8 2022

Newcastle United striker Chris Wood was Monday named in a New Zealand squad for back-to-back friendlies against Australia later this month.

The matches are part of the Socceroos preparations for the World Cup, which begins in Qatar in November, and the double-header will include the first All Whites home match in five years.

New Zealand will be absent from Qatar after losing a final qualifying play-off against Chile.

“We are all still gutted about missing out on the FIFA World Cup, but these games, with Australia qualified, give us the perfect opportunity to prove we belong at this level,” said New Zealand head coach Danny Hay.

Wood and former West Ham defender Winston Reid, currently a free agent, provide Premier League experience to the squad who will play Australia in Brisbane on September 22 and again in Auckland three days later.

The encounter at Eden Park on September 25 will be the New Zealand men’s team’s first home match since holding Peru to a goalless draw in Wellington in November 2017.

“The players are absolutely buzzing for this,” added Hay. “It has been so long since we played at home.

“The majority of the squad have never represented the All Whites in New Zealand so this is going to be a proud moment for everyone.”

New Zealand squad: Chris Wood (Newcastle United/ENG), Winston Reid (Unattached), Kyle Adams (San Diego Loyal/USA), Joe Bell (Brondby/DEN), Michael Boxall (Minnesota United/USA), Liberato Cacace (FC Empoli/ITA), Andre De Jong (Royal AM/RSA), Matt Garbett (Torino/ITA), Alex Greive (St Mirren/SCO), Cam Howieson (Auckland City), Dane Ingham (Newcastle Jets/AUS), Elijah Just (AC Horsens/DEN), Callum McCowatt (FC Helsingor/DEN), Ben Old, Alex Paulsen, Tim Payne, Oli Sands, Ben Waine (All Wellington Phoenix/NZL), Nando Pijnaker (Sligo Rovers/IRE), Storm Roux (Central Coast Mariners/AUS), Marko Stamenic (FC Copenhagen/DEN), Bill Tuiloma (Portland Timbers/USA), Michael Woud (Kyoto Sanga/JPN), Deklan Wynne (Detroit City FC/USA)

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