Wellington Phoenix will again have a significant contingent of players in a representative New Zealand team with six Wellington Phoenix Academy players heading to the U-17 Panda Cup in China next month as part of the preparations for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.
Wellington Phoenix Academy Director and New Zealand U17 Assistant Coach Paul Temple is excited by the talent that the Wellington Phoenix club in contributing to international sides.
''It's really pleasing to see some of the boys make the squad for the Panda Cup in China,'' Temple commented.
''In the very same week we're going to have some of the club represent the New Zealand side in Poland for the U-20 World Cup.
''It's a hugely satisfying week in terms of the development of Academy players and the opportunities that they're getting with the international teams, and it goes someway to justifying the significant investment the owners of the Wellington Phoenix are making into the club’s youth programme.
''It's great that our club can work together with New Zealand Football and extend the opportunities and pathways for these players into the international, and hopefully professional, game.
"We see it as a vital component of what we're doing."
Temple further commented on the vital experience that the Panda Cup will present to the players.
"For us to get the experience to go and play in an International tournament will be vital. We'll have to turn around quickly in games and prepare for different types of opposition in two to three day windows, which will be important for the squad.
"It gives us a dry run for the U-17 World Cup later this year in Brazil."
New Zealand will take part in the Panda Cup at the Chengdu Shuangliu Sports Centre, Chengdu from 25 – 29 May.
Wellington Phoenix U-17 Players Involved In The Squad for Panda Cup
Alexander Paulsen (Capital Football, Lower Hutt City, Scots College)
Max Drake (Capital Football, Lower Hutt City, Westlake Boys High School)
Kris Naicker (Capital Football, Lower Hutt City, Scots College)
Finn O’Connor (Capital Football, Lower Hutt City, Scots College)
Henry Hamilton (Capital Football, Lower Hutt City, Wellington College)
Oskar van Hattum (Capital Football, Lower Hutt City, NZ Institute of Sport)