New Zealand Football announced the 23-man All Whites squad on Tuesday for the FIFA World CupTM intercontinental playoff with Mexico later this month with uncapped Central Coast Mariners youngster Storm Roux included.
New Zealand Football announced the 23-man All Whites squad on Tuesday for the FIFA World Cup intercontinental playoff with Mexico later this month with uncapped Central Coast Mariners youngster Storm Roux included.
Roux, playing in the fullback position, has risen quickly through the ranks after representing New Zealand at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey earlier this year, with the 20-year-old having started all four matches of the new Hyundai A-League season for the Central Coast Mariners after making the switch from Perth Glory.
All Whites coach Ricki Herbert said Roux-s inclusion is reward for a player who has quickly found his feet at the top level across the Tasman.
“Storm is playing in the A-League for a side that has done exceptionally well in the competition,” Herbert said.
“He-s come into the team who are the competition champions and secured a starting spot. I-ve watched him play a number of times and Graham Arnold [Central Coast Mariners coach] speaks highly of him.”
Herbert says Roux-s individual strengths will serve the All Whites well in several areas.
“He-s athletically a player who can get forward and he will put pressure on the likes of Tony Lochhead and Leo Bertos because he-s able to play down both sides. I-ve also been impressed with his one-on-one defending as well.”
Mariners midfield maestro and All Whites regular Michael McGlinchey has also been included in the squad to tackle Mexico.
The talented duo are set to depart Australia later this week, meaning they will not be available for selection for the Mariners for Hyundai A-League round 5 against Brisbane Roar (Sunday 10 November). The New Zealand squad will assemble in Los Angeles on November 9 before travelling to Mexico City for the first leg encounter at the 105,000 capacity Estadio Azteca five days later.
During their time in camp before the opening match of the tie, Herbert says the group will be focussed internally rather than taking too much account of their opposition.
“With Mexico and the change of personnel they-ve had recently we-ll be focusing on us and what we are doing. One of the things we will be looking at is what we can do when we-re in control and being positive in those moments.”
Herbert said the experience of the victory over Bahrain four years ago gives the side an insight into how best to approach the two-leg playoff tie.
“The home fixture is ultra-important and after watching them against Finland move numbers forward quickly I-m sure they-ll try to set the tie alight and score goals in that first leg,” Herbert said.
“That presents a strong challenge for us but also a good one. If we can be tight and very resolute we can put ourselves in a position to showcase our talents at home in the second leg.”
Match details: Leg 1: Wednesday 13 November - Estadio Azteca, Mexico City Leg 2: Wednesday 20 November - Westpac Stadium, Wellington