Nine Nix named in NZ U-23 squad

There is a strong Wellington Phoenix presence in the New Zealand under-23 squad named to play China U-23 this month.

Five first team squad members and four academy players have been named in the national age-group team, who are being coached by academy technical director Paul Temple.

Academy graduates Ben Old, Sam Sutton, Alex Paulsen, Oskar van Hattum and Finn Surman will join the national U-23 squad after the Phoenix’s round 21 Isuzu UTE A-League match against Adelaide United on Friday, March 17.

They will be joined by regular training partners Noah Karunaratne, Isaac Hughes, Lukas Kelly-Heald and Fin Conchie, who are preparing for the Phoenix reserves’ Central League season.

The New Zealand under-23 team’s two matches will be played as curtain-raisers to the All Whites’ internationals against China.

The first double-header is at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on Thursday, March 23, with the second at Sky Stadium in Wellington on Sunday, March 26.