Budding All White Matt Dibley-Dias has returned to the pitch for the first time since suffering the hamstring injury that prevented his international debut in October.
Dibley-Dias (20) came off the bench for Fulham’s U-21 side in their 2-0 loss at Liverpool to complete three months of rehabilitation.
He was on the pitch for almost 20 minutes, picking up a yellow card but experiencing no issues with his fitness.
Main photo: Matt Dibley-Dias … back in action after three months of treatment.
The Lower Hutt-born player had been on the verge of breaking into Fulham’s Premier League side when he was injured at the New Zealand squad’s October training camp in England, ahead of the All Whites’ games against DR Congo and Australia.
He had been expected to make his international debut during those games, after choosing to play for the country of his birth, despite being eligible to play for Brazil, Portugal and England.
After Dibley-Dias left the training camp, New Zealand captain Chris Wood said:“He’s got a bright future ahead of him. From what I’ve seen in the couple of training sessions we’ve had, he’s got quality which is great to see.
“What I love most, he bonded with the squad so quickly and easily, and that’s down to his character, his personality. It’s very Kiwi-based and I think he fitted in very well, so I hope in future he’s back with us because he’s a great player.
“I think he’ll do extremely well in our environment and I think he’ll suit our team extremely well.”
Game played on Monday January 29, 2024 (NZT)
Liverpool U-21 2 (Jayden Danns 19′, Lewis Koumas 61′)
Fulham U-21 0