Football: Ferns name UK-based stars Rebekah Stott, CJ Bott for friendlies against Portugal, Argentina

England-based Rebekah Stott and CJ Bott headline an experienced Football Ferns squad to play host to international friendlies against Portugal and Argentina.

New Zealand will take on the Portuguese at Hamilton on February 17 and the Argentinians on February 20, before traveling north to play the South Americans at North Harbour Stadium on February 20.

The friendlies will serve as ideal preparation for the World Cup beginning in July, with New Zealand and Australia co-hosting, and will run alongside the qualifying playoff tournament.

There are also five Wellington Phoenix players named in the squad, with Mackenzie Barry, Betsy Hassett, Paige Satchell, and Kate Taylor all included. Impressive Phoenix youngster Grace Wisnewski will also train with the team.

Football Ferns coach Jitka Klimková is excited to welcome back Stott and Bott to the side and believes the matches will put them in good stead for the World Cup.

"It is exciting and inspiring for the whole team to play another three games at home in a FIFA run event," she said.

"These games are as close to a FIFA Women's World Cup group play environment as we are going to get before the tournament and we will be using it as a simulation to trial everything before July. 

"Last month against the USA we were able to play in the world cup stadiums and test some members of our wider squad. 

"For these matches we are eager to take the next step in building on our preparations leading into the tournament, continuing to focus on our performance goals on the pitch to compete for positive results. 

"It will be extra special for some of our players who were not able to join us in January. They are all excited to be part of the team, wear the Fern, and represent Aotearoa in front of our home fans." 

Football Ferns squad: Elizabeth Anton, Mackenzie Barry, CJ Bott, Katie Bowen, Claudia Bunge, Olivia Chance, Daisy Cleverly, Ava Collins, Victoria Esson, Betsy Hassett, Grace Jale, Anna Leat, Meikayla Moore, Erin Nayler, Grace Neville, Gabi Rennie, Ali Riley, Indiah-Paige Riley, Paige Satchell, Malia Steinmetz, Rebekah Stott, Kate Taylor, Hannah Wilkinson