WELLINGTON - Teenage striker Chris Wood has been rushed in to the New Zealand squad for next month's Confederations Cup in South Africa just weeks after making his debut in the English Premier League. The 17-year-old received his first international call-up on Thursday after impressing New Zealand selectors when he was called on as a substitute for West Bromwich Albion against Portsmouth last month. Wood had already represented New Zealand at under-17 level but national coach Ricki Herbert said he was confident the Aucklander was ready to take the next step. "Chris has gone to a good club, spent a decent amount of time in a very competitive environment and been good enough to pave his way through to coming off the bench in a Premier League game," Herbert said in a statement on Thursday. "That speaks volumes and he thoroughly justifies his place in the squad." Wood is the only uncapped player in the 23-man squad captained by Ryan Nelsen, who makes his third appearance at the Confederations Cup after playing in 1999 and 2003. The squad will travel to Africa to play friendlies in early June against Tanzania, Botswana and Italy before the eight-nation Confederations Cup starts in the middle of the month. New Zealand are drawn in the same group as South Africa, Spain and Iraq. New Zealand squad: James Bannatyne, Glen Moss, Mark Paston, Andrew Boyens, Tony Lochhead, David Mulligan, Ryan Nelsen (captain), Steven Old, Aaron Scott, Ben Sigmund, Andy Barron, Leo Bertos, Tim Brown, Jeremy Christie, Simon Elliott, Chris James, Duncan Oughton, Kris Bright, Jeremy Brockie, Chris Killen, Shane Smeltz, Jarrod Smith, Chris Wood.
7 May 2009
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