Football: Reid and Nelsen to play against China

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 again.

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 weekend.

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.


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