A-League Men

Victory's Ingham eligible for New Zealand

7:01 AM WAT 10/02/2017
Jai Ingham Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers A-League 12112016
The Melbourne Victory speedster could join team-mate Marco Rojas in the All Whites set-up in time for the Confederations Cup


Melbourne Victory could end the season with another international player on their books despite not having made a move in the January transfer window.

Victory head into the A-League's Round 19 with nine players who have senior international experience, but that number could soon reach double figures with Jai Ingham on the verge of becoming an All White.

The 23-year-old winger has added a New Zealand passport to those he holds from Australia and Samoa.

Ingham, who was born in Australia, qualifies for New Zealand and Samoa through his mother.

Having already spoken to All Whites coach Anthony Hudson about his eligibility, Ingham is hoping to get a call-up for New Zealand's two World Cup qualifiers against Fiji in March and - ideally - the Confederations Cup in June.

"To get that little moment [in Russia] would be unbelievable, you know," he told Goal.

"So as long as I keep working hard and keep doing what I'm doing and making a difference, then hopefully a call-up will come sometime soon."

Ingham has been impressed by what he's seen from the All Whites' set-up already and is excited by the opportunity to play international football.

But the former Brisbane Roar youngster, who Victory recruited from NPL Victoria club Hume City in January 2016, is well aware of the difficulty of breaking into Hudson's squad.

Ingham has trained alongside two of New Zealand's best wingers - Kosta Barbarouses and Marco Rojas - at different stages of his Victory stint.

Victory's Ingham thrilled with A-League return

"Especially in my position, they've got some very good players - Marco being one of them," Ingham said.

"So I've talked to him about it a little bit and all he's said is positive things."

Playing international football would provide Ingham with a shop window at a vital time.

The Lismore-born speedster's contract with Victory expires at the end of the 2016-17 season and Goal understands other A-League clubs have expressed some interest, although Ingham's priority is to stay with the Big V.

Ingham & Victory expose Wanderers' defence

Ingham has steadily improved during his 12 months with Victory and has notched one goal and two assists from 11 appearances this season.

But just four starts in 18 A-League appearances under Victory coach Kevin Muscat underlines the difficulty Ingham will have in convincing Hudson of his readiness for international football.

Not that Ingham sees it that way.

"I know that people say 'more games you play, the better you get' but the way we train [at Victory], we train to win," he said.

"So even training, you're still getting that intensity and you're getting your fitness in there with the players that are around you."

Ingham added of Rojas: "Having the best right winger in the league at your club to learn off is even better for me."

New Zealand's next games are away and home against Fiji on March 25 and 28, respectively, as the All Whites look to qualify for Oceania's World Cup qualifying final, which will decide who advances to an intercontinental play-off against the fifth-placed side from South America with a spot at Russia 2018 on the line.