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Old drafted in to All Whites squad for Mexico

Nelsen hyper-extended his knee in Blackburn’s 3-0 English Premiership win over Bolton on the weekend and while scans subsequently revealed no structural damage the kiwi skipper faces four to six weeks on the sidelines.
That rules him out a trip the trip to Los Angeles but should see him back in time to lead New Zealand at its second ever World Cup finals appearance and through the last stages of preparation beginning with the recently announced trans-Tasman clash against the Socceroos in Melbourne on May 24.
Al Whites coach Ricki Herbert, currently in South Africa as part of a New Zealand delegation on a World Cup fact-finding mission, said Nelsen’s long-term fitness tempered the disappointment of losing him for a crucial warm-up match.
“It’s a four to six week concern, but that should alleviate concerns about his fitness for the World Cup, which is the most important thing for us,” Herbert said.
Old was a member of New Zealand’s Confederations Cup squad last year – playing just one pre-tournament friendly against Tanzania – after joining Scottish Premier League Kilmarnock a few months earlier on a three-year deal.
Herbert said Old was the logical choice to provide cover for a defence missing Nelsen and the suspended Ivan Vicelich, a pair that boast well over 100 caps between them.
“Steven’s been part of the squad before and is very much part of the wider group so given Ivan’s suspension and now Ryan’s injury it makes sense to bring him in.
“He’s at Kilmarnock, he’s training regularly at a professional club so it’s a good time for him to come back in.”
Ben Sigmund and Andy Boyens, the then-inexperienced but effective defensive pairing in a 2007 draw against Wales, look likely to join newcomer Tommy Smith if Herbert continues with the 3-4-3 formation that proved so successful against Bahrain over two legs.
The New Zealand based All Whites depart for Mexico on March 1.
Revised All Whites squad for Mexico friendly
(Club, caps/goals in brackets)
Glen MOSS (Melbourne Victory, Australia – 15/0)
James BANNATYNE (Team Wellington – 5/0)
Tony LOCHHEAD (Wellington Phoenix – 29/0)
Andrew BOYENS (New York Red Bulls, USA – 15/0)
Steven OLD (Kilmarnock, Scotland – 20/1)
Ben SIGMUND (Wellington Phoenix – 12/1)
Tommy SMITH (Brentford, England – 0/0)
Andy BARRON (Team Wellington – 13/1)
Leo BERTOS (Wellington Phoenix – 30/0)
Tim BROWN (Wellington Phoenix – 27/0)
Simon ELLIOTT (San Jose Earthquakes, USA – 69/8)
Michael McGLINCHEY (Motherwell, Scotland – 3/0)
Craig HENDERSON (Mjällby AIF, Sweden – 0/0)
Shane SMELTZ (Gold Coast United, Australia – 32/17)
Rory FALLON (Plymouth Argyle, England – 3/2)
Chris KILLEN (Middlesbrough, England – 35/17)
Chris WOOD (West Bromwich Albion, England – 5/0)
Confirmed World Cup build up
March 4
5pm (NZT)
New Zealand v Mexico
Pasadena, USA
May 24
New Zealand v Australia
Melbourne, Australia
May 29
New Zealand v Serbia
Klagenfurt, Austria
June 4
New Zealand v Slovenia
Maribor, Slovenia
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
June 15
11.30pm (NZT)
New Zealand v Slovakia
June 21
2am (NZT)
New Zealand v Italy
June 25
2am (NZT)
New Zealand v Paraguay
Story courtesy NZ Football.

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