31 May 2016

Hudson has selection dilemmas with All Whites

11:58 am on 31 May 2016

The All Whites coach Anthony Hudson may feel he's finally taking up the manager's reins, as for the first time in two years he's got a few selection dilemmas.

New Zealand play Vanuatu in their second match of the Oceania Nations Cup in Papua New Guinea this evening after beating Fiji 3-1 in their tournament opener at the weekend.

The win has left Hudson questioning whether he should change a winning lineup.

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson.

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson. Photo: Photosport

Kosta Barbarouses and Marco Rojas are now both available while midfielder while Michael McGlinchey was came off the bench in the opening match as he recovered from an ankle injury.

"This is the first time in two years that I've actually had a bench and had some decisions to make," said Hudson.

The Melbourne Victory's Kosta Barbarouses in action.

Kosta Barbarouses has joined the All Whites in Papua New Guinea. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"I've not had that in the past, we've always just gone with what we've got. So it's nice to now have a bit of competition in the group and I'm so pleased that I can finally make some of these decisions," he adds.

"It means standards can be higher because, if players perform, they stay in the group and people aren't just going to walk into the team because of reputation."

That competition for places is set to get even more intense from this afternoon with the arrival of in-form striker Jeremy Brockie and defender Michael Boxall, who both helped SuperSport United in South Africa to the domestic title there.

Midfielder Matt Ridenton was not considered for selection against Fiji due to injury but has now returned to fitness, giving Hudson full use of his 23-man squad after the addition of Brockie and Boxall.

The Vanuatu fixture offers an opportunity for those starting to cement their spots in the team and Hudson said they will have to do so against an accomplished opponent.

Despite losing to the Solomon Islands in their opening game Hudson rates them.

"They're a good team, I would say they're one of the strongest here. They like to play football out from the back and have one or two key players who can hurt you."

The match kicks off at 6pm.

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