Danny Hay has included Winston Reid in his first All Whites squad as coach for matches against Ireland and Lithuania next week.
The New Zealand captain was included in the 24-man squad after a lengthy injury lay-off with Premier League club West Ham.
Burnley striker Chris Wood is also included along with Bayern Munich youth star Sarpreet Singh.
Hay said while there had been an emphasis on youth, veterans including Reid and Wood would play a key role in setting the tone for the squad.
“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.”
The fixtures in Ireland and Lithuania next week are the All Whites' first in more than a year.
Full squad: (club, caps/goals)
Goalkeepers: Stefan Marinovic (Phoenix, 24/0), Michael Woud (Willem II, Netherlands, 1/0)
Defenders: Michael Boxall (Minnesota United, USA, 32/0), Liberato Cacace (Wellington Phoenix, 2/0), Louis Fenton (Wellington Phoenix, 7/0), James McGarry (Willem II, Netherlands, 0/0), Nando Pijnaker (Torslanda IK, Sweden, 0/0), Winston Reid (West Ham United, England, 24/1), Storm Roux (Melbourne Victory, Australia, 9/0), Tommy Smith (Colorado Rapids, USA, 36/2), Bill Tuiloma (Portland Timbers, USA, 24/0).
Midfielders: Joe Bell (University of Virginia, USA, 0/0), Michael McGlinchey (Central Coast Mariners, Australia, 53/5), Matt Ridenton (Newcastle Jets, Australia, 5/0), Alex Rufer (Wellington Phoenix, 6/0), Sarpreet Singh (Bayern Munich, Germany, 4/1), Ryan Thomas (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands, 18/3).
Forwards: Elliot Collier (Chicago Fire (on loan to Memphis 901), 0/0), Andre de Jong (Amazulu, South Africa, 2/1), Elijah Just (Helsingör, Denmark, 0/0), Max Mata (Grasshopper Club Zürich, Switzerland (on loan to Nõmme Kalju, Estonia), 0/0), Callum McCowatt (Wellington Phoenix, 0/0), Marco Rojas (SønderjyskE, Denmark, 41/5), Chris Wood (Burnley, England, 56/24).