Clegg one of six Nix called up to Football Ferns

Milly Clegg has been named in the Football Ferns for the first time.

The young forward is one of six Wellington Phoenix players named in the national team for their internationals against Iceland and Nigeria in Turkey next month.

Veteran midfielder Betsy Hassett, regular forward Paige Satchell and defenders Kate Taylor, Mackenzie Barry and Michaela Foster have kept their places in the Ferns squad after featuring against Portugal and Argentina last month.

Clegg has played 14 games for the Nix this season, having joined the club on an amateur contract in November, just days after her 17th birthday.

She found of the back of the net in back-to-back Liberty A-League games in January, after scoring goals at both the U-17 and U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cups last year.

“Milly Clegg is a player we have been watching for a long time,” Football Ferns head coach Jitka Klimková said. “We are looking forward to seeing her as part of the senior team after brilliant performances at the U-17 and U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cups, as well as for her club.”

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – JANUARY 22: Milly Clegg of the Phoenix in action during the round 11 A-League Women’s match between Wellington Phoenix and Canberra United at Sky Stadium, on January 22, 2023, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Hassett is New Zealand’s fourth most capped international footballer, having played 141 times for the Football Ferns. She started all three of the Ferns’ matches in February and captained the side in the second of two games against Argentina.

Satchell has been a regular under Klimková and has now been capped 40 times at senior international level.

Taylor (8 caps) and Barry (6 caps) have made their debuts in the past year after stand-out performances in the Phoenix’s maiden season, while Foster made her senior bow in the first match against Argentina last month having caught the eye in her first campaign as a professional.

The players will fly out of Wellington on Sunday, a day after the Phoenix’s final round A-League match against Melbourne Victory at Sky Stadium.

The first international against Iceland will be played on Friday, April 7 (Saturday, April 8 NZT), with the second match against Nigeria to follow on Tuesday, April 11 (Wednesday, April 12 NZT).

The Ferns’ final overseas internationals before the FIFA Women’s World Cup will both be played at Mardan Sports Complex in Antalya, Turkey, and will kick-off at 4pm local time (1am NZT).