Nix skipper back in the All Whites

Wellington Phoenix captain Alex Rufer has been called up to the All Whites for their upcoming internationals in Cairo.

Rufer was a notable omission from the original 24-man New Zealand squad for their matches against Egypt and Croatia or Tunisia, but has been named as a replacement for teammate Tim Payne, who suffered a hamstring injury in the first half of the 2-1 win over Sydney FC on Saturday.

The combative midfielder has arguably been in career-best form this season. He has started 20 of Wellington’s A-League matches, missing just two games due to suspension and injury.

Rufer also scored three goals in successive matches against Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets in January.

He last played for the All Whites in March last year, playing 90 minutes in a scoreless draw against China.

Alex Rufer will join clubmates Kosta Barbarouses, Ben Old, Finn Surman, Alex Paulsen and Lukas Kelly-Heald in Cairo ahead of New Zealand’s match against Egypt on Saturday morning NZT.