NZ at full strength for China friendly


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -New Zealand has named a near full-strength squad for Wednesday's friendly against China in Shanghai.

Coach Ricki Herbert called on his England-based players, including captain and Queen's Park Rangers defender Ryan Nelsen, West Ham's Winston Reid, Ipswich Town's Tommy Smith and West Bromwich Albion's Chris Wood.

The only notable omission from the squad is China-based striker Chris Killen who is unavailable because of personal commitments. Perth-based Shane Smeltz has a hamstring injury but has been included in the squad and will likely be fit.

The match is New Zealand's only international engagement between rounds of the Oceania confederation's World Cup qualifying series. New Zealand is currently unbeaten after four matches in the four-team competition which concludes in March.

"We haven't made any personnel changes but we may look to tinker our formation or try one or two new things in this match," Herbert said.

"We've got good experience in the group now with Ryan and Leo (Bertos) set to make 50 appearances. Behind them we've got a group of players such as (Tony) Lochhead, Smeltz and Killen, who are approaching that milestone as well and then Ivan (Vicelich) nearing three figures."

New Zealand and China have played 12 times, with New Zealand winning six times, China three and with three draws.


New Zealand: Mark Paston, Glen Moss, Winston Reid, Tony Lochhead, Ben Sigmund, Tommy Smith, Ryan Nelsen, Leo Bertos, Michael McGlinchey, Dan Keat, Ivan Vicelich, Tim Payne, Shane Smeltz, Marco Rojas, Jeremy Brockie, Kosta Barbarouses, Chris Wood.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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