24 Dec 2009

Tommy Smith's availability a boost for All Whites

1:02 pm on 24 December 2009

The All Whites' World Cup preparations are set for a further boost with the young Ipswich defender Tommy Smith contacting coach Ricky Herbert to say he wants to play for New Zealand at the World Cup.

New Zealand Football will be approaching FIFA to ensure it happens and Ipswich to see if the former England youth international, who went to school in Auckland, can also play in wamup matches.

The first of up to six matches is against Mexico in Los Angeles on March 3rd with captain Ryan Nelsen and other top players based in Britain expected to be available during the midweek window because FIFA rules require clubs to release fit players.

As Los Angeles has millions of Spanish speakers Ricki Herbert says it'll be almost like a home match for Mexico, the world's 17th-ranked side.

He says that'll be better preparation for South Africa in June than taking on sides nearer New Zealand's much lower ranking.