Setting up a School of Excellence has paid early dividends for the Wellington Phoenix with youngsters Tyler Boyd, Louie Fenton and Luke Rowe set to make their senior debuts against URO United Sikkim in Imphal on Friday.
With senior players Andrew Durante, Manny Muscat and Ben Sigmund suspended, head coach Ricki Herbert has turned his sights to the School of Excellence to plug the gaps in the first game of the club’s Indian tour.
While he has not finalised a line up, Herbert said Boyd, Fenton and Rowe were likely to be included.
“I’m delighted the club’s vision and initiative in setting up the project has begun so well,” Herbert said.
“It has been satisfying to watch such a dedicated group of young players who are seeking contracts progress so well.
“Their improvement highlights the benefits of having young players in a professional environment day in day out.
“Now this opportunity has arisen it will expose their strengths and weaknesses and give us a chance to see where they are at.”
The Phoenix arrived in New Delhi on Sunday evening after a 15-hour trip from Sydney and were out on the training ground next morning in 40 degree heat and a burning sun.
Twenty-four hours later they headed for the hotel gym with training cancelled because of torrential rain and a flooded training ground.