All Whites' coach Ricki Herbert is expected to name an
unchanged squad for next week's international against China
in Shanghai, potentially upsetting West Ham boss Sam
Allardyce was last month critical of Herbert's insistence
Winston Reid was called up for the two World Cup qualifiers
against Tahiti despite battling a back injury - Reid didn't
play in either match - suggesting there was a lack of trust
in West Ham and Reid that he was injured.
Herbert was well within his rights to call on the defender,
however, given the matches fell in a Fifa window. The match
against China fits into another Fifa window even though it is
a 'friendly', meaning clubs are obliged to release players.
The benefit of playing in China is that it is only one
long-haul flight for each player rather than two for the
UK-based members, which makes it more attractive for Herbert
to plump for his strongest side.
He could opt to rest Reid and skipper Ryan Nelsen with
nothing riding on the match, but has said he wants to
assemble his best side, especially as the China game is the
last before the final two World Cup qualifiers against New
Caledonia and the Solomon Islands that will decide which team
from Oceania progresses to an intercontinental playoff. The
All Whites have won four from four and are three points ahead
of New Caledonia.
Striker Shane Smeltz has recovered from the hamstring strain
that ruled him out of last month's second match against
Tahiti and will be picked to play China. He returned to full
training with Perth this week and is in line to play against
Adelaide on Sunday.
Herbert is expected to announce his squad later this week but
things could change if any players pick up injuries over the
Probable All Whites squad to play China in Shanghai on
November 15 (NZT): Mark Paston, Tony Lochhead, Ben Sigmund,
Tommy Smith, Leo Bertos, Michael McGlinchey, Shane Smeltz,
Chris Killen, Marco Rojas, Glen Moss, Dan Keat, Ivan
Vicelich, Jeremy Brockie, Kosta Barbarouses, Chris Wood.