New head coach Danny Hay has selected a host of promising young players in his All Whites first squad, as well as welcoming several more established names back into the fold.
The likes of Winston Reid, Chris Wood and Ryan Thomas have all been included for the first time since the end of 2017, while seven players are yet to be capped at senior level – namely James McGarry, Nando Pijnaker, Joe Bell, Elliot Collier, Elijah Just, Max Mata and Callum McCowatt.
Hay will lead his group of 24 players in away matches against Ireland and Lithuania this month and is enthused by the talent he has at his disposal.
"It's exciting in that I had to make some really tough decisions and leave out players that are operating at a high level, which is a good sign for the future," he says.
"I think we’re developing a different type of player now – one who is more technical and tactically aware – so that in itself is exciting and I think the squad is reflective of that."
While a big emphasis is being placed on youth, Hay says those who have been involved in the national team set-up for a long period of time will likewise have a crucial role to play, particularly the likes of Wood and Reid.
"One of the most important things is getting those senior players on board and making sure they’re really clear with the direction we’re heading and are 100 percent invested in it.
"They’re going to be vital for setting the tone and influencing how the younger players come into the environment and what that environment actually looks like going forward.
"Winston has been out for a very long time so it’s great to have him involved. We all know that he’s on his way back from injury so we just need to be very careful with how we work with him and how much game time he has.
"But the sheer fact that he’s there and the mana he holds amongst the group is going to be vital."
The only player not considered for selection was Kosta Barbarouses, due to his club commitments with Sydney FC and personal circumstances.
All Whites squad for international friendlies
Stefan Marinovic, Michael Woud
Michael Boxall, Liberato Cacace, Louis Fenton, James McGarry, Nando Pijnaker, Winston Reid, Storm Roux, Tommy Smith, Bill Tuiloma
Joe Bell, Michael McGlinchey, Matt Ridenton, Alex Rufer, Sarpreet Singh, Ryan Thomas
Elliot Collier, Andre de Jong, Elijah Just, Max Mata, Callum McCowatt, Marco Rojas, Chris Wood