New All Whites boss to seek out Tommy Smith

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 17:18 22/08/2014
TALKING FOOTBALL: New All Whites coach Anthony Hudson, left, and Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick catch up at the Phoenix’s indoor training session today.
Kent Blechynden/Fairfax NZ
TALKING FOOTBALL: New All Whites coach Anthony Hudson, left, and Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick catch up at the Phoenix’s indoor training session today.

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New All Whites coach Anthony Hudson plans to chew the fat with Tommy Smith in person, although he's not about to read the riot act.

Hudson has just completed his first week of work in New Zealand football's hot seat, after his visa was approved ahead of his first assignment against Uzbekistan in Tashkent on September 8.

He has not yet spoken with Smith, the former national captain who has controversially taken a 12-month break from international football to focus on his season in the English Championship with Ipswich Town.

Hudson plans to spend time with as many European-based Kiwi players and their clubs as possible in October, including Smith.

''I come into this without any bias as to what's happened before, this is something that happened before my time and I'm not going to make any judgements on players until I go and speak to them,'' said Hudson, who made an appearance at the Wellington Phoenix's indoor training session today.

''I have to be all inclusive, talk to everyone and then make assessments. The decision was made before I came in, it means very little to me personally. I don't take it personally and I won't make any judgements on it until I've gone over there, spoken to him and that'll be the same for every player.

''I've just started and I come into this with a fresh set of eyes. I understand what's gone on in the past but I need to now make my own decisions.''

Hudson, 33, has found a place to live on Auckland's North Shore and took in Saturday's Chatham Cup semifinal in Auckland then Sunday's Phoenix v New Zealand Selection game in Taupo.

He is itching to start real work at the All Whites' preparation camp at Doha's cutting-edge Aspire Academy next month.

''I've been there loads of times with Bahrain and I know the players will absolutely love it. It's one of the very few places as a coach where you stand there and just want to play.

''It's just beautiful, the pitches and the facilities. It's a critical period for us if we're to come away with a real strong performance.''

Hudson has bold ambitions for the All Whites to play in the same fashion as Chile, who thrilled fans with an ultra-attacking, pressing style at the World Cup.

He believes it will take ''five or six'' games for that style to start bedding in, and is likely to get more precious opportunities to impart his knowledge in November's yet-to-be-confirmed games against China and Malaysia.

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''There's no-one on this planet that can come and click their fingers and change a whole style of play in an instant. I don't need to completely start again and go in a new direction.

''A lot of the players, in the previous games with Neil [Emblen], the type of football they were playing, the technical ability and the youth coming through, it complements how I want to do things.''

Hudson was delighted with the goalscoring form of Chris Wood in England and Ryan Thomas in the Netherlands.

He also wants to build relations with as many New Zealand-based coaches as possible, from Ernie Merrick at the Phoenix through to Steve Hansen.

''I've already tried to make contact with the All Blacks coach. I know it's a really busy time for him at the moment but as soon as he's got a moment I want to meet him. I want to learn about the All Blacks.''

- Stuff

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