Amateur Barron eyes Kiwis call-up

AUCKLAND, April 29 (Reuters) - While New Zealand's central bank was leaving the official cash rate unchanged at a record low on Thursday, Westpac senior operations administrator Andy Barron was stretching at a sun drenched North Harbour Stadium.

The 29-year-old, who works for the bank's wealth division and helps manage about NZ$1 billion ($718.4 million) of "high net-worth" customers' investment portfolios, was instead pinning his hopes on making the All Whites team for the World Cup finals.

"To be on that plane would be fantastic," the midfielder told reporters at the All Whites' pre-World Cup training camp for Australasian-based players in Auckland. "Obviously the next two weeks are crucial.

"It's about personal performance and making sure that I bring quality to the training and hopefully I will be on the plane."

Barron made his international debut in 2006 and has accumulated 14 caps.

"I have thought about that. I can't imagine there will be too many others there," Barron said when asked how he felt being one of the few amateurs in South Africa.

His employers had been "fantastic" giving him time off work for international duty. Last year he had 10 weeks off as the All Whites played in the Confederations Cup.

"Thankfully Westpac have come to the party (and given me) two weeks special leave (for the camp).

"If it all works out (and he is selected) then it could be potentially for another seven to eight weeks, but we will cross that bridge when we get to it."

Barron, who normally plays in front of hundreds of people for Wellington in the domestic league, said he was not unnerved by playing in front of 35,000 like he had when he came off the bench in the Asia/Oceania qualifier against Bahrain last November.

"I have been involved with the All Whites for four years now, so I am used to it and feel comfortable in that environment.

"The more you play, the more you come into the environment the more you lift your quality.

"You just forget they're (the crowd) there. I've played a few times now and all you do is get in there and do your job."

Barron, who has been mainly used as a replacement for central midfielders Simon Elliott or Tim Brown, said if selected he would not be going to South Africa to make up the numbers.

"I think that when I came on against Bahrain (it showed) that I can do that job," he said.

"I don't just want to be there to make up the 23. It's about getting there, then getting on the park and playing against the best teams in the world. I will be pushing for that as much as I can."

New Zealand have been drawn in Group F of the June 11-July 11 finals alongside holders Italy, Slovakia and Paraguay.