|Neil Etheridge will backstop Stephan Schrock in leading the Azkals for the WCQ. PFF (file photo)|
MANILA--Neil Etheridge has been named Stephan Schrock's deputy in the skipper spot for the Philippine Azkals ahead of their crucial FIFA World Cup Qualifiers June window battles in Suzhou, China.
The Azkals announced on Thursday night that the Birmingham goalkeeper, the first Southeast Asian to start a Premier League match, will be their vice captain, backing up the United City midfielder.
The national team also revealed its 25-man training pool for the WCQ.
Joining Etheridge in the netminder rotation are Rot Weiss Ahlen's Bernd Schipman and Kuala Lumpur's Kevin Mendoza.
Schrock's midfield allies called up include Erzgebirge Aue's Patrick Strauss, PT Prachuap's Iain Ramsay, Bochum's Gerrit Holtmann, Magdeburg's Raphael Obermair, Suphanburi's Patrick Reichelt, Nitra's Oliver Bias, Azkals Development Team's Jarvey Gayoso and Mark Winhoffer, Pacific's Matthew Baldismo, and Molde's Lloyd Fagerlie.
Called up as defenders are Terrenganu's Carlie De Murga, BG Pathum's Alvaro Silva, Ratchaburi's Luke Woodland, Djurgardens' Jesper Nyholm, Port's Martin Steuble, Mito Hollyhock's Jefferson Tabinas, ADT's Mar Diano and Niko De Vera, and Neuchatel Xamax's Michael Kempter.
The Azkals then confirmed an earlier statement from United City that Mark Hartmann has been called up at the forward position.
Only one other striker has been called up, St. Joseph's Angel Guirado even as the delay in Bienve Maranon's naturalization process left the Nationals with no choice but to sit him out.
The Azkals are set to hold a training camp in Doha for the WCQ.
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