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U-23 squad named for Australia challenge

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Head coach Des Buckingham has named an exciting New Zealand U-23 squad to take on its counterparts from Australia in a pair of friendlies next month.

A total of 21 players will head to New South Wales as preparations continue for the OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which takes place in Fiji soon after the Australia tour.

Buckingham will bring together a group that includes both domestic and overseas-based players, including five with senior All Whites experience in goalkeeper Michael Woud, Clayton Lewis, Logan Rogerson, Myer Bevan and Noah Billingsley.

He is looking forward to building on the momentum that has been gained in recent months.

"It has been an exciting 12 months for players in this age group with a large pool already involved in the successful U-19 OFC Championship, FIFA U-20 World Cup and recent Pacific Games," he says.

"These two games against a strong Australian team will help us prepare for the Olympic qualifiers as we look to secure our place at Tokyo 2020."

The Australia matches also provide the rare opportunity for the players involved to test themselves against New Zealand’s traditional sporting foe.

The countries have not come up against each other at U-23 level in over a decade with the last meeting a 3-2 win to Australia in Sydney in 2008.

They have met 10 times over the years with New Zealand’s only positive results being a famous 1-0 triumph in Adelaide in 1996 and a 1-1 draw in Auckland in 2004.

The OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament will be held in Fiji from 21 September to 5 October.

New Zealand U-23 squad for Australia friendlies

Michael Woud (Willem II, Netherlands)

Conor Tracey (Central United)

Cameron Brown (Central United)

Jordan Spain (Cashmere Technical)

Hunter Ashworth (UC Santa Barbara, USA)

Sean Liddicoat (Coastal Spirit)

George Stanger (Hamilton Academical, Scotland)

Billy Jones (University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA)

Dalton Wilkins (FC Helsingor, Denmark)

James McGarry (Willem II, Netherlands)

Dane Schnell (Western Springs)

Dylan de Jong (Eastern Suburbs)

Gianni Stensness (Unattached)

Noah Billingsley (UC Santa Barbara, USA)

Jake Porter (Onehunga Sports)

Oliver Whyte (Rio Ave FC, Portugal)

Logan Rogerson (Unattached)

Max Mata (Nomme Kalju, Estonia)

Myer Bevan (Western Springs)

Clayton Lewis (Scunthorpe United, England)

Elijah Just (FC Helsingor, Denmark)

Match details

Australia U-23 vs New Zealand U-23

Friday 6 September, 7.30pm (9.30pm NZT)

WIN Stadium, Wollongong

Australia U-23 vs New Zealand U-23

Monday 9 September, 7.30pm (9.30pm NZT)

Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Campbelltown

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