All Whites coach Anthony Hudson has named his squad for the FIFA World Cup Intercontinental Playoff against Peru in November.
Skipper Winston Reid (calf) and striker Chris Wood (hamstring) have recovered from their respective injuries to be named in the 23-man squad to face the World No 10 home and away for a place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Experienced defender Tommy Smith has also overcome injury and is named for the first time in a squad alongside Reid, Wood and Ryan Thomas as New Zealand looks to make history by becoming the third team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.
The All Whites will face Peru on Saturday 11 November at Westpac Stadium in Wellington before travelling to Lima for the away leg on Wednesday 15 November at Estadio Nacional de Lima.
Hudson feels like he has named a squad that has plenty of quality and experience and will be ready for the challenge of the fifth-ranked South American side.
“The goal for our squad is simple, we need to deliver the best performance of our campaign and if we do that then we have a good chance of qualifying for the World Cup,” said Hudson.
There are a few other notable selections. Uncapped goalkeeper Max Crocombe (Salford City FC) comes in to the squad and Clayton Lewis (Scunthorpe United FC) returns to the national team after signing his first professional contract.
Storm Roux, who missed the tour of Japan in October because of injury, and Andrew Durante, who has recently been side-lined by a groin injury, have also sufficiently recovered to be selected.
Strikers Rory Fallon, one of the heroes of the 2009 Intercontinental Playoff, and Jeremy Brockie are two notable inclusions.
“We have decided to bring back in Rory and Jeremy for the quality they bring to the team but also what they offer the team off the field. We know that experience is going to be a huge factor in this tie and the guys who have been there before can add a huge amount to this group and our chance of success.”
Hudson said the players cannot wait to get down to Wellington and begin preparing for the international window they have been working towards in the last three years.
“Ever since I arrived here in New Zealand, football people in this country have told me about how special that night was in 2009 when we beat Bahrain to make a World Cup, now we have our chance. We can’t wait. Our goal is to deliver a performance that will make New Zealand proud.”
All Whites (Club, Country, Caps, Goals)
Stefan MARINOVIC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Canada 22, 0
Max CROCOMBE, Salford City FC, England 0, 0
Glen MOSS, Newcastle Jets FC, Australia 29, 0
Michael BOXALL, Minnesota United FC, USA 29, 0
Kip COLVEY, San Jose Earthquakes FC, USA 13, 0
Andrew DURANTE, Wellington Phoenix FC, New Zealand 22, 0
Dane INGHAM, Brisbane Roar FC, Australia 5, 0
Winston REID, West Ham United FC, England 22, 1
Storm ROUX, Central Coast Mariners FC Australia 9, 0
Tommy SMITH, Ipswich Town FC, England 35, 2
Themi TZIMOPOULOS, PAS Giannina FC, Greece 14, 1
Deklan WYNNE, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Canada 13, 0
Clayton LEWIS, Scunthorpe United FC, England 11, 0
Michael McGLINCHEY, Wellington Phoenix FC, New Zealand 50, 5
Marco ROJAS, SC Heerenveen FC, Netherlands 38, 5
Ryan THOMAS, PEC Zwolle FC, Netherlands 16, 3
Bill TUILOMA, Portland Timbers FC, USA 22, 0
Kosta BARBAROUSES, Melbourne Victory FC, Australia 45, 4
Jeremy BROCKIE, Supersport United FC, South Africa 49, 1
Rory FALLON, Dorchester Town FC, England 24, 6
Monty PATTERSON, Ipswich Town FC, England 15, 1
Shane SMELTZ, Borneo FC, Indonesia 58, 24
Chris WOOD, Burnley FC, England 54, 24