Surman one of three Nix in All Whites squad

Finn Surman has been named in the All Whites for the first time.

The young defender is one of three Wellington Phoenix players that have been selected in the 23-strong squad for New Zealand’s upcoming internationals against Sweden and Qatar.

Surman, 19, has been called up on the back of stand-out performances at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina.

He captained the Junior All Whites in all four of their matches, including the round of 16 defeat to the U.S.A. on Wednesday morning.

“It is always special to call someone up for their debut so I want to congratulate Finn Surman who was brilliant at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, both on and off the pitch, and who I have every confidence will be able to step up to the senior All Whites environment,” interim All Whites head coach Darren Bazeley said.

Club captain Alex Rufer and experienced defender Tim Payne have also kept their places in the All Whites squad, having featured against China in the last international window in March.

Rufer led the Phoenix to a sixth place finish in the 2022-23 A-League, making 19 appearances, after returning from a serious knee injury in December.

Payne featured in 24 of the Nix’s 27 A-League matches during the season, missing two games because of illness and suspension.

Oli Sail, Clayton Lewis and Callan Elliot, who also featured for Wellington during the 2022-23 A-League but have now left the club, have also been named in the squad.

The All Whites will play world no. 22 Sweden in Stockholm at 7pm on Friday, June 16 (5am Saturday, June 17 NZT) before heading to Vienna in Austria to play Asian Cup holders Qatar at 6pm on Monday, June 19 (4am Tuesday, June 20 NZT).