All Whites unveil young side to face Japan

Two teenagers will make their debut for New Zealand’s All Whites against Japan after Tyler Boyd and Ryan Thomas were named to start the friendly international in Tokyo.


Phoenix forward Boyd will start up front alongside Leicester City striker Chris Wood while Dutch-based Thomas will play on the left side of midfield at Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.

The 19-year-olds form part of a green starting side, particularly in defence where four other players have less than 10 caps – Storm Roux, Bill Tuiloma, Michael Boxall and Tim Payne.

Payne will play in front of defence in a 4-1-3-2 formation, with interim head coach Neil Emblen looking to two Phoenix stalwarts – goalkeeper Glen Moss and centre back Andrew Durante – to provide steady heads at the back.

Thomas, who plays for top Dutch top-flight club PEC Zwolle, will link with Japan-based Michael McGlinchey and Melbourne Victory’s Kosta Barbarouses in a lively midfield.

Experienced strikers Shane Smeltz, Rory Fallon and Jeremy Brockie are all on the substitutes bench, along with promising midfielders Chris James and Cameron Howieson.

Emblen says his world No.89-ranked side has been picked to attack with pace but also to pester their 50th-ranked opponents, who are preparing for this year’s World Cup in Brazil.

“It is an attacking-looking team and I want us to try and create chances and try and score some goals but also at the same time stay hard to beat, keep a good shape and make it hard to be played through in the middle of pitch,” he said.

“It’s exciting, they’ve all got good pace and tempo to their games, the way they close people down, the way they use the ball and manipulate the ball and try to create two versus one situations with their pace is an exciting prospect for us.”

Emblen believes the players he has chosen replicate the Japanese style and he will encourage them to express themselves despite their inexperience.

The game is the last to be played at the venue, with the stadium set to be rebuilt ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

New Zealand: Glen Moss (capt), Bill Tuiloma, Michael Boxall, Andrew Durante, Storm Roux, Tim Payne, Michael McGlinchey, Ryan Thomas, Kosta Barbarouses, Tyler Boyd, Chris Wood. Substitutes: Ben Sigmund, Shane Smeltz, Rory Fallon, Jacob Spoonley, Chris James, Jeremy Brockie, Cameron Howieson.