Young goalkeeper Alex Paulsen’s impressive start to the men’s A-League season has earned him a call-up to the All Whites.
Paulsen (21), who recently re-signed with the Wellington Phoenix till 2027, is one of three Phoenix players in the New Zealand squad for their upcoming international friendlies against Greece and the Republic of Ireland.
Defenders Tim Payne (29) and Finn Surman (20) have also been selected for the national squad.
Paulsen, Payne and Surman have all played every minute of the Phoenix’s season so far, helping the men make their best-ever start to the Isuzu-UTE A-League.
Phoenix players weren’t considered for New Zealand’s matches against DR Congo and Australia in October as head coach Darren Bazeley didn’t select any players from the A-League.
It’s not the first time Paulsen has been called up to the senior squad, though he is yet to win a cap.
The age-group international was an unused substitute in the All Whites’ two internationals against the Socceroos last year.
He was also on the bench for New Zealand’s match against China in Wellington in March.
Payne, who celebrated his first A-League goal for the Phoenix on Saturday, has played 33 senior internationals and started at right back in the team’s defeat to Sweden earlier this year.
Surman was called up to the All Whites for the first time for the matches against Sweden and Qatar in June. The New Zealand U-20 captain was an unused substitute in both games.
Paulsen, Payne and Surman will join the All Whites after Friday night’s A-League match against the Melbourne Victory in Melbourne.
23-player New Zealand squad named
Game to be played on Saturday November 18, 2023 (NZT)
Greece v New Zealand
Georgios Kamaras Stadium, Athens, Greece, 6am TBC (NZT)
Game to be played on Wednesday November 22, 2023 (NZT)
Ireland v New Zealand
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, 8.45am (NZT)