New Zealand U-17 players will be provided a chance to further secure a position in the 2019 FIFA World Cup squad to be held in Brazil in October with an identification camp to be held next month.
With half of the group comprised of Wellington Phoenix Academy Players, the four-day camp in mid-July will provide the opportunity for the young players to work their way into Head Coach, José Figueira’s plans.
Having returned from the Panda Cup in China last month, Figueira will look to the camp to bring out the best in the players as they vie for a chance to head to the World Cup.
“Having this camp so soon after China means we can continue to build on the positive momentum from that tour and further deepen the playing philosophy and tactical concepts, as well as developing our culture and identity,” Figueira told New Zealand Football.
The camp will include the six players from the Phoenix Academy that represented the U-17 squad in the Panda Cup, with the addition of Academy players Callum Kennett, Harry Bark, Adam Hills, Benjamin Old and Blake Driehuis.
Wellington Phoenix Academy Head Coach, Paul Temple, is looking forward to challenging the young players in the camp.
“It’s an exciting group, we’re coming off a really positive tour to China recently where we learnt a lot so to have another few days together to keep building towards Brazil is fantastic.”
“Jose and I have the same philosophical approach to how we like the game to be played so I’m really enjoying being part of the team and working with a talented group of players.
‘‘I think the Men’s U-20 successes have provided us all with even more motivation and inspiration to continue what we’re doing with this group.’’
As part of the camp, the U-17s will take on the Wellington Phoenix’ first team who will be starting their pre-season training schedule.
“The Phoenix will have just started their preparations for the new season so it will be a high-quality test for us,” Figueira said.
This represents the perfect opportunity to showcase themselves in front of the Wellington Phoenix Head Coach, Ufuk Talay after he signalled his intent to develop New Zealand talent.
The camp will follow the FIFA U-17 World Cup draw, to be taken place at FIFA headquarters in Zurich on 11 July as the side find out their opponents.
Wellington Phoenix Academy Players Included In Identification Camp
Alexander Paulsen (Lower Hutt City/Capital/Scots College)
Callum Kennett (Lower Hutt City/Central/Palmerston North Boys’ High School)
Max Drake (Lower Hutt City/Capital/Scots College)
Finn O’Connor (Lower Hutt City/Capital/Scots College)
Kris Naicker (Lower Hutt City/Capital/Scots College)
Harry Bark (Lower Hutt City/Capital/Scots College)
Adam Hillis (Lower Hutt City/Capital/Scots College)
Benjamin Old (Lower Hutt City/Capital/Scots College)
Henry Hamilton (Lower Hutt City/Capital/Wellington College)
Oskar van Hattum (Lower Hutt City/Capital/NZ Institute of Sport)
Blake Driehuis (Lower Hutt City/Capital/Scots College)