Interim head coach Neil Emblen has signalled an attacking intent in naming his All Whites side to meet South Africa at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland this evening.
Emblen has made two changes from the team which was beaten 4-2 by the FIFA World CupTM-bound Japan side in March with Vfb Stuttgart striker Marco Rojas and midfielder Chris James replacing Chris Wood and Kosta Barbarouses.
from scoring a double in the Dutch Cup Final as his PEC Zwolle side took a 5-1 win over AFC Ajax, Ryan Thomas will play the second match of his All Whites career after making strong start in the senior international arena in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, any one of four players could make their All Whites debut from the bench with the Wellington Phoenix duo of Matt Ridenton and Jason Hicks joined by Luke Adams and James Musa.
Emblen says the first task the team must complete is showing the lessons from the March outing have been learned.
“A big focus of ours will be demonstrating we’ve moved forward from our experience in Japan,” Emblen said.
“We need to eliminate the early mistakes we made in that match and at the same time continue to develop our comfort and composure in possession.”
Once those items are ticked off the checklist, Emblen has challenged his exciting young group to play with the energy and purpose which reflects the occasion.
“We haven’t always had regular chances to play at home in front of our fans and our mindset will be to attack and play at a quick tempo but without taking undue risks with the ball.
“We have a great amount of pace in attacking positions and we want to take advantage of that but not at all costs.”