All Whites coach-in-waiting Anthony Hudson has reportedly arrived in New Zealand ahead of his expected unveiling this week.
The Gulf Daily News reported that the Englishman, 33, had flown to NZ after severing ties with Bahrain, whose national team he had coached since last August.
The Bahrain Football Association announced that its under-23 coach, Adrian Whitbread, would assume control of the senior side following Hudson's resignation.
NZ Football had hoped to unveil Hudson last Thursday but it was delayed as he worked through his exit from Bahrain.
Interest now centres on the composition of Hudson's support staff.
It is understood that Hudson has reached out to Neil Emblen, who coached the All Whites on an interim basis this year for a 4-2 loss against Japan and a 0-0 draw with South Africa.
While disappointed to have missed out on the top job, Emblen hopes to revert to the assistant coach role he had held during the latter stages of Ricki Herbert's reign.
Emblen has offered Hudson his congratulations and, while no promises have been made, further discussions between the pair are likely in Auckland this week as planning ramps up for the September 8 friendly against Uzbekistan in Tashkent.
The All Whites have access to a Fifa window between September 1-9 and are booked in for a preparation camp at Qatar's Aspire Academy before travelling on to Tashkent.
That time together would allow Hudson to assess whether Emblen is the right man to be his long-term sidekick and judge the abilities of other support staff.
The retention of Emblen, popular among players, would provide continuity and valuable insight into the NZ footballing landscape. Whether their personalities mesh is another matter but there appears to be good synergies between their philosophies.
Hudson told the Daily Mail he was determined to get Bahrain playing an attacking, passing game; pressing defenders and winning the ball high up the pitch.
Emblen has begun the process of implementing a more modern system, following the departure of the defensively-minded Herbert in November.
Recognising the skills of NZ's new generation of players, he has blooded young attackers Ryan Thomas and Tyler Boyd to good effect.
The appointment of the articulate Hudson, who led Bahrain to four wins, five draws and three losses in his year in charge, is a bold but exciting move.
He had mixed results in his previous head coaching stints with Bahrain under-23, Newport County and Real Maryland Monarchs, but is generally recognised as a manager on the rise.
The son of former Chelsea star Alan, Hudson has looked to South America and continental Europe for inspiration, citing Jose Mourinho and Marcelo Bielsa as major influences.
One concern for NZF ahead of the 2018 World Cup is what happens if the ambitious Hudson tastes success and big clubs or countries come calling?
He has left Bahrain in the lurch ahead of January's Asian Cup although we are yet to hear his side of the story and what background issues were in play.
Hudson is likely to have significant involvement with age-group teams as NZF seeks to create a more cohesive strategy at the sharp end.
Emblen, who coached NZ at the 2012 Olympics, is keen to continue through to Rio 2016.
- The Dominion Post
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