April 14, 2010
AUCKLAND - Canterbury United’s Aaron Clapham has been rewarded for a breakthrough season with the New Zealand Football Championship grand finalists with inclusion in a 12-day camp for New Zealand and Australian based All Whites candidates.
The camp will take place in Auckland between April 28 and May 10 and features a New Zealand selection taking on an NZFC All Stars XI on May 9.
Former U-20 international Clapham (23) is the only uncapped player included in the 15 man squad drawn from A-League and NZFC clubs but his role in helping last year’s wooden spooners reach the April 24th final against Waitakere has caught the eye of All Whites coach Ricki Herbert.
“Aaron’s a player we’ve been monitoring and I invited him in for a couple of weeks recently with the Phoenix,” Herbert said.
“Assistant coach Brian Turner saw Aaron play again on the weekend and he’s been able to make a difference as far as Canterbury making the finals is concerned.”
“In the big games against Auckland and Waitakere this season he’s stepped up and performed. Now it’s a good chance to bring him in with players like Brown and Bertos and see what his work is like at that level.”
Clapham is and one of four players in the training group not selected for the All Whites squad that beat Bahrain over two legs to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa or for the friendly against Mexico last month.
Newcastle Jets midfielder Jeremy Brockie, who featured in last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup, is making sufficient recovery from a broken leg to earn inclusion while Team Wellington’s 21-year-old midfielder Cole Peverley and 20-year-old Brisbane Roar striker Costa Barbarouses are as close to national selection as they’ve been since winning their only cap in an under-strength New Zealand team sent to Fiji for a dead rubber World Cup qualifier in 2008.
A number of NZFC players used by Herbert in the national team since he took over in 2005 have not been named in the training camp but Herbert says the selection door is certainly not closed on those candidates.
“What we’ve decided to do is work with players we haven’t worked with recently like Aaron and Cole but there are others that we have seen in New Zealand colours on one or more occasions in the past few years and we know what they can do.”
Those players are likely to get their last chance to stake their claim in an NZFC All Stars XI squaring off against domestic camp members a New Zealand selection at North Harbour Stadium.
“The NZFC All Stars match will likely feature a good cross section of those players and so it’ll give us another chance to see them as well.”
New Zealand camp for Australasian-based players
April 28 – May 10
James Bannatyne – Team Wellington
Glen Moss – Melbourne Victory
Mark Paston – Wellington Phoenix
Tony Lochhead – Wellington Phoenix
Dave Mulligan – Wellington Phoenix
Ben Sigmund – Wellington Phoenix
Ivan Vicelich – Auckland City
Andy Barron – Team Wellington
Leo Bertos – Wellington Phoenix
Jeremy Brockie – Newcastle Jets
Tim Brown – Wellington Phoenix
Aaron Clapham – Canterbury United
Cole Peverley – Team Wellington
Costa Barbarouses – Brisbane Roar
Shane Smeltz – Gold Coast