Football: Smith breaks silence on All Whites return

Tommy Smith
Tommy Smith
Tommy Smith has broken his silence on his All Whites return -- though the reasons given don't fully explain his international exile over the past 12 months.

Smith hasn't played for New Zealand since he captained the side during the World Cup qualifying matches with Mexico in late 2013.

It later emerged that he had threatened to retire before the first leg against the North American side, over a dispute about when he would be required to arrive in camp. After missing the friendly games against Japan and South Africa earlier this year, Smith announced in August that he would be taking an indefinite break from international football, for at least 12 months.

However, he has recently done a u-turn, and has been included in the team to face China and Thailand next month.

Smith explained to the Ipswich Town website that a recent spell on the side lines for his club -- as well as input from his club manager Mick McCarthy-- has prompted a change of heart.

Smith is the longest serving player at Portman Road but has been relegated to a substitute's role for most of this season.

"When I made the original decision to take a break for a year, I was playing week in, week out for Ipswich and I wanted to focus all my energy into my club performances," said Smith.

"With New Zealand only having friendlies lined up this year, I believed it would give me the chance to recover after the long flights, but after speaking with the gaffer here he felt it would be good for me to play at international level and get some football."

Smith added that a personal meeting with new All Whites coach Anthony Hudson also played a big part in his decision.

"I met with [Anthony] recently for a coffee and a chat," Smith said.

"I really appreciate the new head coach taking the time out to come and meet me over here. He was doing the rounds with the English-based players and I think that shows how much he all wants us on board and I'm looking forward to representing the All Whites again."

The All Whites play China on November 14 and Thailand four days later.

- Michael Burgess of the Herald on Sunday

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter