It is a special day for any footballer when you are named in the All Whites for the first time but even more special when your name is alongside your brother’s.
Two days ago, Dane Ingham (17) got the news that he and his brother Jai (23) that he would be included in Anthony Hudson’s squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier – OFC Stage 3 match against Fiji.
All Whites coach Hudson travelled to Brisbane this week to spend some time with Dane and his family.
“It was a pretty special moment,” said Dane from Brisbane. “I was sitting at home and I got a call from my agent saying that New Zealand were interested and they were going to call me up and I got on the phone straight away to my brother and my mum and we just talked and mum was really happy to have both of us called into the squad.”
The Ingham brothers are the two newcomers in what is an experienced All Whites squad and sees the return of captain Winston Reid, Shane Smeltz and Tommy Smith.
Winger Jai Ingham (Melbourne Victory FC) and defender Dane Ingham (Brisbane Roar FC) are the first brothers to be named in an All Whites squad since Neil and Kenny Harlock in 1997. Australian-born Jai (23) and Dane (17) qualify for New Zealand through their New Zealand-born mother.
“I don’t think [Mum] could believe it really with me being so young,” said Dane. “With my brother getting his first call up she didn’t think she would have two sons in the same team at the same time, so she was just very pleased and she was giving me advice and saying just take it all in and enjoy yourselves.”
Hudson said his coaching team have been watching them for some time.
“Jai has been progressing with his club and his performances have been very good. In recent time he is getting more and more time on the pitch and his performances have been very strong. He is a dynamic player, a very attacking player and he is someone who suits how we want to play.
“Recently when Dane made his debut for the Roar, for me 20 – 30 minutes into the game and I was sold. I had seen enough. He is a really good player. I have said all along that I wouldn’t be adding unless they add to the squad and these two players do that. I have seen enough to know that they can come in and improve what we are doing.”
Dane has recently moved position with the Roar. Their coach John Aloisi took him from the midfield and decided that right-back would be a position that would suit him best and he is enjoying the challenge.
“I’ve just moved back there and trying to learn off some experienced defenders over here and training every day with the first team over here, the intensity really improves you as a player and even from the first couple of weeks you know what a better player you’ve become.”
Ingham is hoping to continue his education alongside the likes of skipper Reid and other experienced defenders like Smith and Andrew Durante.
“It’s going to be great to learn off all of the players, I mean they’re top players and to take in some of the advice they’re going to give me it’s going to be great. It’s going to make me a ten times better player especially to help me take my game to the next level.”
Ingham smiled when he was asked of the timing of his first All Whites call-up. The team has a full schedule of games coming up with pinnacle events being the FIFA World Cup qualifying and the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
“Yes pretty much perfect timing for me I guess,” he said. “The Confederations Cup is going to be a big one for us New Zealanders and hopefully we can go over there and show the other teams that we mean business. The squad is
looking really good and really strong with a lot of experience and I think we’ll go over there and show them what we’re made of.”
Ingham has been watching the All Whites over the past 12 months and believes the team is capable of great things on the world stage.
“Yes I’ve watched them before and they’re a good side and they’ve got some quality players and I can learn a lot of them and just watching them I didn’t think I’d be able to play with players like Winston Reid and I think even with the World Cup qualifiers later in the year I think we can push through.”
Stefan Marinovic (SpVgg Unterhaching, Germany) 12, 0
Tamati Williams (RKC Waalwijk, Netherlands) 1, 0
Glen Moss (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand) 29, 0
Andrew Durante (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand) 13, 0
Thomas Doyle (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand) 3, 0
Michael Boxall (SuperSport Utd, South Africa) 20, 0
Kip Colvey (San Jose Earthquakes FC, USA) 7, 0
Themi Tzimopoulos (PAS Giannina FC, Greece) 9, 1
Deklan Wynne (Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Canada) 6, 0
Winston Reid (C) (West Ham United, England) 21, 1
Sam Brotherton (Sunderland AFC, England) 7, 0
Tommy Smith (Ipswich Town FC, England) 29, 2
Dane Ingham (Brisbane Roar FC, Australia) 0, 0
Bill Tuiloma (Marseille, France) 15, 0
Clayton Lewis (Auckland City FC, New Zealand) 6, 0
Michael McGlinchey (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand) 40, 4
Moses Dyer (Eastern Suburbs AFC, New Zealand) 8, 0
Ryan Thomas (PEC Zwolle, Netherlands) 7, 0
Chris Wood (Leeds Utd, England) 46, 18
Monty Patterson (Ipswich Town FC, England) 9, 1
Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory FC, Australia) 30, 4
Shane Smeltz (Wellington Phoenix FC, New Zealand) 51, 24
Jai Ingham (Melbourne Victory FC, Australia 0, 0
All Whites v Fiji – OFC Stage Three Qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia
Saturday 25 March
1pm (2pm NZ time)
Churchill Park, Lautoka, Fiji
Tuesday 28 March
Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand