All Whites coach Ricki Herbert is almost paranoid about injuries to his squad in the lead-up to the World Cup.

In an interview with NZPA he twice referred to injuries and the need to both manage the team’s training workload as well as restrict his top combination’s time on the field ahead of the opening Cup match.

He was to ease off on the training schedule today and would not settle on his starting 11 to play Slovenia in a warm-up until tomorrow, but there seemed every likelihood his top players would not be asked to play a full 90 minutes.

“If everybody’s all okay and we’re comfortable with our position then we’ll probably not be too dissimilar than we were against Serbia,” he said today of the composition of a likely starting 11.

“What I will probably consider is players not being on the pitch for so long. The team named to play Slovenia may be on the pitch for 20 to 30 minutes only,”

The New Zealanders have suffered one major injury setback since their World Cup preparations hit high gear last month, with experienced midfielder Tim Brown back in New Zealand recuperating from shoulder surgery after being hurt against Australia. He has until June 10 to prove hits fitness for the World Cup.

Meanwhile, captain Ryan Nelsen reckons New Zealand’s aims of flying into the World Cup under the radar may have well and truly been dashed with their 1-0 weekend win over 15th ranked Serbia.

“It was only this group of players who knew we were a decent team.  Now teams will probably take us more seriously. We will keep going about our business. We are doing well but we have a lot of work to do before we get to South Africa.”
NZ plays Slovenia on June 4 and a training match against Chile on June 9 in their World Cup warm-up matches.

New Zealand World Cup squad

1     GK     Mark Paston     
2     DF     Ben Sigmund (vc)  
3     DF     Tony Lochhead     
4     DF     Winston Reid     
5     DF     Ivan Vicelich    
6     DF     Ryan Nelsen (c)     
7     MF     Simon Elliott     
8     MF     Tim Brown (vc)   
9     FW     Shane Smeltz     
10     FW     Chris Killen     
11     MF     Leo Bertos     
12     GK     Glen Moss     
13     MF     Andy Barron     
14     FW     Rory Fallon     
15     MF     Michael McGlinchey    
16     MF     Aaron Clapham     
17     MF     David Mulligan     
18     DF     Andrew Boyens     
19     DF     Tommy Smith     
20     FW     Chris Wood     
21     MF     Jeremy Christie    
22     MF     Jeremy Brockie     
23     GK     James Bannatyne