The OlyWhites received a huge boost three weeks before their opener at the Tokyo Olympics with confirmation that All Whites star Winston Reid has been deemed available for selection.
The veteran West Ham defender was named last week alongside Chris Wood and Michael Boxall as the three major players allowed in the Under-24 squad, but Reid has been put on hold with Tim Payne pending his availability .
Aside from injured Ryan Thomas and Sarpreet Singh, who is focused on his commitments with the club ahead of an imminent Bayern Munich loan, Reid’s availability means coach Danny Hay has been able to select a squad. almost full of 18 men. – which is a luxury in the current climate.
The same cannot be said for Group B opponents South Korea and Romania, who were unable to recruit their best players for the tournament, which is played outside a Fifa window, after have encountered resistance from many professional clubs.
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South Korea failed to secure the services of Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min, while Romania named a severely exhausted squad and were forced to make last-minute changes to its initial selection.
Reid will make his Olympic debut in Tokyo. He was set to join Ryan Nelsen and Shane Smeltz as one of three major players in 2012, but chose not to focus on his career at West Ham.
Talk to Thing earlier this week, before Reid’s inclusion was confirmed, but while confident it would happen, Hay said it was a major blow to have defender, Wood and Boxall on board.
âI think we can’t really underestimate how important it is to them from a personal point of view – their desire to really want to be a part of it, which I think really means how important they are. like to play for their country above all, but also how much they want to be part of this group of players and this environment.
âThey are great people – they hold enormous mana and respect among this group of young players.
“I’m not going to lie – it was hard to get them across the line, and because it’s not a Fifa window, we had to work very closely with the clubs, but in the end , it really focused on the players, showing the desire that they wanted to be there.
New Zealand have never won a men’s soccer match at the Olympics, but the OlyWhites will be optimistic about their chances of reaching the round of 16 after getting the nicest draw and avoiding the big ones. calibers like Argentina, Brazil and Spain.