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Clapham in World Cup squad
Published : 10 May 2010 10:58:58
Canterbury's Aaron Clapham was the surprise inclusion when the New Zealand squad for next month's World Cup was announced in Auckland.
Clapham, joins Denmark-based Winston Reid as the only uncapped players named in Ricki Herbert's 23-man squad for South Africa.
The midfielder was named in a 15-man training squad by Herbert for a 12-day camp for his Australasian-based players, which has just been completed. The 23-year-old impressed in Sunday's trial match where he lined up for New Zealand A against a New Zealand Football Championship All Stars XI and created his side's second goal for Costa Barbarouses in the 2-0 win.
Clapham aside, Herbert's squad contained few surprises given the former All Whites defender's pledge to select the 18 players who helped get New Zealand to the World Cup for just the second time.
While he backtracked on that slightly - omitting Aaron Scott - the bulk of the squad involved in qualifying was retained.
Scott missed out following the unexpected recruitment of Europe-based defenders Tommy Smith, who made his debut against Mexico in March, and Reid.
The pair only recently pledged their allegiance to New Zealand after playing for England Under-18s and Denmark Under-20s, respectively.
Defender David Mulligan was retained despite not featuring in 46 matches for his club, Wellington Phoenix, who Herbert also coaches.
Jeremy Christie was another notable inclusion after being forced to ply his trade overseas at FC Tampa Bay Rowdies when he was axed from the Phoenix at the end of the 2008-09 A-League season.