World Cup could be on agenda for Smith

NEW Zealand coach Ricki Herbert had talks this weekend with Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith trying to persuade the 19-year-old to be part of his squad for next summer's World Cup finals in South Africa.

NEW Zealand coach Ricki Herbert had talks this weekend with Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith trying to persuade the 19-year-old to be part of his squad for next summer's World Cup finals in South Africa.

Herbert would like the English-born player to commit to the All-Whites before he has the chance to push for higher honours with England.

“Tommy is definitely one I am keen to get involved,” Herbert said.

“The lure of the World Cup is the biggest selling point and there might not be many people who would say no to that.

“Tommy might not get that chance in his life again.”

Smith spent much of his youth in New Zealand attending Westlake Boys' High School and being part of the national age group set-up.

Most Read

An approach has already been made to England youth international Smith, and Herbert was discussing it with him this weekend.

Herbert is hoping that the experiences of Plymouth striker Rory Fallon will help sway Smith. He played youth football for England and but didn't go on to make the senior squad.

Herbert trawled for New Zealand-eligible players when he took over as coach in 2005 and unearthed Michael McGlinchey, Chris James and Winston Reid.

He will undertake the exercise again in the hope of

landing a big catch to join his 23-man squad for South Africa

- with Smith high on the

agenda.

“We have time to open up the book again and see if there's anyone out there we don't know about,” Herbert says.

The All Whites boss will also renew efforts to convince Reid to switch allegiances from Denmark to New Zealand.

Reid, a 21-year-old centre-back, was born in New Zealand but has played youth internationals for Denmark.

“He's another one that is in the same category as Tommy,” Herbert said.

“There is an opportunity for him to play for New Zealand but he has to be to be 100 per cent committed.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter