May 28, 2012
AUCKLAND – Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Dan Keat has been ruled out of the All Whites OFC Nations Cup campaign in the Solomon Islands, with his place in the squad taken by Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson.
Keat, 24, who made his international debut against Jamaica in February, was due to fly out with the squad from Dallas but a knee injury has stymied his chances of pushing his claim for a spot in New Zealand’s midfield.
Keat wasn’t released for the two Texas-based internationals which were played outside the FIFA window – but he took no part in LA’s matches against San Jose and Houston due to his injury.
After encouraging performances in Texas – the All Whites drew 2-2 with El Salvador and beat Honduras 1-0 – New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert has decided he is comfortable with his midfield stocks and elected to call up Gleeson as goalkeeping cover for Mark Paston and Glen Moss.
New Zealand Olympic team goalkeeper Gleeson, 21, has been training with the squad in Texas this week.
New Zealand open their campaign at the eight nations OFC Nations Cup against Fiji on June 2 followed by games against Papua New Guinea (June 4) and the hosts (June 6). The winner of the tournament qualifies for the FIFA Confederations Cup and the four semi-finalists progress to the next stage of World Cup qualifying.