How to pick an all-time All Whites XI from this season’s 20 EPL clubs

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Here’s how we put together a Fantasy All Whites – 11 players who represented New Zealand, all of whom played for clubs taking part in the 2021-22 English Premier League.

We did it almost without duplicating the clubs – we selected 11 players from 10 different clubs.

And we reckon it’s a more-than-half-decent team, if only we could utilise time travel and catch the players at the peaks of their careers.

We picked our team for a 4-3-3 formation.

Goalkeeper

GK: Phil Dando (Liverpool)

Liverpool-born Dando was on Liverpool’s books from 1969-1972 when he emigrated to New Zealand where he became a mainstay in Christchurch United’s successful national league side of the mid-1970s. He played twice for New Zealand.

Back four 

2: Winston Reid (West Ham United)

Reid has played almost 200 games for the Hammers and has also been loaned to Brentford. He’s been an All White since the 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign.

5: Danny Hay (Leeds United)

Hay played for Leeds between 1999-2002, including an appearance in the European Champions League. Having made more than 30 appearances as an All White player, the big man now coaches the national side.

6: Ryan Nelsen (Spurs)

Of the three EPL clubs Nelsen played for, only Tottenham Hotspur remains in the EPL (the others were Blackburn Rovers and QPR). He played 49 games for the All Whites between 1999-2012.

3: Ricki Herbert (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

After being part of the 1982 All Whites, Herbert spent two seasons with Wolves in the mid-1980s, making 45 first team appearances. He’s one of three national team coaches to be selected in this fantasy All Whites team.

Midfield

4: Brian Turner (Brentford)

A member of the 1982 World Cup All Whites, Turner made more than 100 appearances for the national team in full and B internationals. He was with Chelsea in 1968-69 but he earns his place in this team for his 92 appearances for the Brentford side of the early 1970s.

8: Ken Armstrong (Chelsea)

The captain of our fantasy team, and another former national coach. The legendary Armstrong played 362 games for Chelsea between 1946 and 1957 before emigrating to New Zealand where he became captain and then the coach of the national side between 1958 and 1964. He had played one full international for England before heading to New Zealand.

7: Billy McClure (Liverpool)

Having been with Liverpool between 1974-77, and making eight first team appearances, McClure set off for a new life in New Zealand where he became an integral part of the successful Mt Wellington national league side between 1979-1983. He won selection to the All Whites, playing 30 internationals in the 1980s.

Forwards

10: Wynton Rufer (Norwich City)

After smashing into the New Zealand team as a little-known teenager, and playing at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain, Rufer earned his pro contract with Norwich City, now back in the EPL.

9: Chris Wood (Burnley)

Leading our attack is current All White and Burnley star Chris Wood. We suspect he’d be the first name on the team sheet of just about everyone having a go at our teaser.

11: Chris Killen (Manchester City)

Killen spent three seasons at Manchester City, making three appearances, in 1999-2002. He also spent time on loan at Norwich City, giving us two ways into this fantasy team. Killen played 48 times for New Zealand in a long international career which included being part of the 2010 World Cup Finals squad in South Africa.

Bench

We struggled to fill our fantasy dugout without breaking our rules for this teaser … so we’ve come up a bench that bends the rules.

We can’t think of a second New Zealand international ‘keeper who has played for one of the EPL clubs, except for Oly White Jamie Searle. Though he’s now with Swansea City in the English Championship, he was previously contracted to Aston Villa.

We would also have Darren Bazeley (Watford) ready to step into the defence – though he’s not an All White, surely his current role as assistant coach for the national team carries some weight? He put in 283 appearances for Watford between 1989-99, as well as 80 games for Wolves.

Up front, we would include Alan Marley (Arsenal) – a tricky winger who was an apprentice with the Gunners before playing a dozen games for New Zealand in the early 1970s. He was a cracking frontrunner for New Brighton and Christchurch United.

And we would give the last seat in the dugout to winger Ray Veall (Everton), arguably one of the best imported players never to wear a New Zealand shirt. Veall played for Everton between 1961-65 before emigrating as a player-coach with Gisborne City in the early 1970s.Though often touted as a potential New Zealand international, he never quite got the call-up many thought he deserved.

Footnote

No doubt, some of you wrestled with the names Simon Elliott, Chris James and Lee Norfolk, all of whom have been on the books of English Premier League clubs.

Sadly, they can’t be considered for this teaser because Fulham – where Elliott and James were players – were relegated from the EPL last season.

And while Norfolk, and U-17 international, became the first New Zealander to play in the Premier League, his Ipswich Town club is also no longer in the EPL.

Main photo: Brian Turner (left) and Rick Herbert … representing Brentford and Wolverhampton Wanderers in our Fantasy All Whites team. Image courtesy of Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Think you could do better?

If you think we’ve missed someone, or you could have come up with a better team, let us know.

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