Emblen right man for the job, says Glen Moss

Last updated 05:00 15/02/2014
Glen Moss
HE'S A KEEPER: Phoenix's Glen Moss was 'humbled' to be named All Whites captain this week.

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Neil Emblen has just made Glen Moss the All Whites' captain, so perhaps the Phoenix goalkeeper is a little biased.

But nevertheless, Moss has given the interim All Whites coach a glowing endorsement ahead of the March 5 friendly against Japan in Tokyo.

The pair were New Zealand Knights team-mates in the inaugural 2005-06 A-League and Emblen turned to Moss as his on-field leader this week when it was decided Winston Reid and Tommy Smith would remain with their clubs.

Moss said the opportunity was "very humbling" and he encouraged Emblen to apply for the job on a permanent basis once NZ Football complete their review of last year's failed World Cup campaign.

Emblen has said he would prefer to stay on in his previous role as an assistant but would consider a run at the top job if things go well in Japan.

"I'd have no doubt about Neil's ability to lead the side," Moss said.

"For me, he's got to be in pole position, I think. He knows the squad, he knows the set-up, he knows New Zealand football well and knowing his personality, not just as a player but as a coach, his communication is unreal. He's already trying to give us as much information as he can before we even get into camp. Neil has already been right on the ball, he's been sending out video clips of Japan and their strengths and weaknesses."

The captaincy leaves Moss in the curious situation of operating under Andrew Durante at the Phoenix but coming in over the top in Japan.

"I actually said to Dura that if I was half as good a captain as he is here then I'll be going all right."

Moss added the Tokyo game was an opportunity for the All Whites to prove that they could handle a move from Oceania into the Asian confederation.

The 31-year-old said the players all supported such a move.

"We'd much rather play more quality opposition in Asia. I think it's only going to benefit New Zealand football in the long run."

Moss was one of six Phoenix players named in the All Whites, along with Durante, Ben Sigmund, Michael Boxall, Tyler Boyd and Jeremy Brockie.

He said the play of Sigmund and Vince Lia, in particular, for the Phoenix this season illustrated the reinvigoration of the club under Ernie Merrick.

"Vinnie's obviously in the best form of his career but I said to him the other day: 'It's not as if you've all of a sudden become a good player. You've been able to do this for the last few years.' But now with the team working around him, it's given Vinnie a bit more freedom, a different mindset and he's playing with such confidence."

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Moss was bullish about the sixth-placed Phoenix's prospects against the last-placed Melbourne Heart on home soil tomorrow, saying: "We fancy ourselves to roll them."

Moss' own job has also changed dramatically under Merrick.

Centre backs Durante and Sigmund are encouraged to lead a high defensive line, with Moss required to come off his line and snuff out danger as a sweeper.

"I've had to find myself focusing on my concentration more than anything. I don't mind conceding two goals so long as we score three."

Merrick's major selection dilemma tomorrow is likely to be between Matthew Ridenton and Jason Hicks in midfield.


What: A-League, round 19

Where: Westpac Stadium, Wellington

When: 5pm tomorrow

TV: Live on Sky Sport 3

Referee: Jarred Gillett

TAB: Phoenix $1.80, Heart $4.20, draw $3.50

Phoenix: Glen Moss, Manny Muscat, Andrew Durante, Ben Sigmund, Michael Boxall, Vince Lia, Kenny Cunningham, Matthew Ridenton, Carlos Hernandez, Tyler Boyd, Stein Huysegems, Lewis Italiano, Reece Caira, Jason Hicks, Roy Krishna, Jeremy Brockie, Josh Brindell-South, Alex Rufer

Heart: Andrew Redmayne, Aziz Behich, Robbie Wielaert, Patrick Kisnorbo, Jason Hoffman, Orlando Engelaar, Jonatan Germano, Massimo Murdocca, Iain Ramsay, Harry Kewell, Mate Dugandzic, Tando Velaphi, Patrick Gerhardt, Nick Kalmar, Stefan Mauk, David Williams, Ben Garuccio, Michael Mifsud

- Fairfax Media

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