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Auckland pair join All Whites

Published: 9:44PM Sunday February 28, 2010 Source: NZPA

Uncapped Auckland City pair Jason Hayne and Chad Coombes have been added to the All Whites soccer squad to play Mexico in Los Angeles on Thursday but injury has stalled Craig Henderson's international career before it started.

New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert had hoped to take a look at Sweden-based midfielder Henderson ahead of the World Cup in South Africa in June but the midfielder, working his way back from groin surgery, twisted a knee in training.

"It's unfortunate timing for Craig, but the most important thing is his well being," Herbert said today.

"I've always been positive about what Craig might offer the squad and this won't count against him long-term."

Herbert has passed that immediate chance to Hayne, 23, and Coombes, 26, who impressed during Auckland City's fifth placing at the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi late last year.

"The form of Jason and Chad needs to be acknowledged and it gives them a wonderful opportunity to impress. It's a huge step up to international football so we'll be able to see if they can bridge that gap or if it's a bridge too far."

The New Zealand squad are already missing central defender Ryan Nelsen and goalkeeper Mark Paston due to injury, and 75-cap defender Ivan Vicelich through a one-game suspension.

Mexico, however, will be close to full strength with the majority of their European-based stars available.

"It'll be immensely tough for us and we won't have our first 11, but there's a positive for us whatever happens in that there is a huge opportunity for players," said Herbert, whose team leave tomorrow for Los Angeles.

Revised All Whites squad:-

Goalkeepers: Glen Moss (Melbourne Victory, Australia), James Bannatyne (Wellington).

Defenders: Tony Lochhead (Wellington Phoenix), Andrew Boyens (New York Red Bulls, US), Steven Old (Kilmarnock, Scotland), Ben Sigmund (Wellington Phoenix), Tommy Smith (Brentford, England).

Midfielders: Andy Barron (Wellington), Leo Bertos (Wellington Phoenix), Tim Brown (Wellington Phoenix), Chad Coombes (Auckland City), Simon Elliott (San Jose Earthquakes, US), Jason Hayne (Auckland City),

Michael McGlinchey (Motherwell, Scotland).

Forwards: Shane Smeltz (Gold Coast United, Australia), Rory Fallon (Plymouth Argyle, England), Chris Killen (Middlesbrough, England), Chris Wood (West Bromwich Albion, England).