Michael McGlinchey shines for All Whites
Coach Ricki Herbert and captain Ryan Nelsen have hailed two-goal hero Michael McGlinchey's best performance in an All Whites jersey.
McGlinchey, a Wellington-born Scotsman once on Glasgow Celtic's books, agreed his early goal against
Tahiti gave him the confidence to try the long-range curling shot that sealed the All Whites' 3-0 win in Christchurch last night.
The Central Coast Mariners midfielder fired the All Whites into the lead in the third minute, which encouraged him to shoot more from distance.
"I think I tried it twice in the first half but it never came off. But I got the confidence from the [early] goal and trying shots added to my game a bit.''
"The first one I didn't really think about. [The ball] just came out and I tried to hit it as hard as I can and pulled it into the bottom corner.
"The last one I was going to hit first time but I thought I had a bit of time so I took a touch and went for the far corner of the net.
"I thought it was a bit too high but it dipped at the last minute and I had a bit of a mad celebration.''
Herbert had "big ticks'' for McGlinchey, whose general passing game also impressed despite a sticky pitch at AMI Stadium.
"One thing with Michael, he can link up well and he took both his goals well,'' Herbert said. "It was difficult in the middle of the pitch, it was hard to shift the ball a little... it took a little bit of class. At the end of the day, he took his first goal well and [scored] an exceptional last goal.''
Nelsen said it was "one of the best games Mike's played for New Zealand''. "It was very difficult on that field, it was like glue and he was right in the middle of reckless behaviour [by Tahiti], but he just controlled it.
"His second goal was an incredible goal, no keeper in the world would have saved it.''
McGlinchey said it was "definitely'' his best game at international level. "I think when you score two goals you can always say that's your best. I don't usually get too many of them, so I was happy to get two [last night].''
McGlinchey has made the midfield playmaker berth his own since the World Cup finals and has been one of the best New Zealand players in the A-League, helping the Mariners to last year's grand final.
"I think I've been pretty consistent now for a year and a half. I just try to take one game at a time but Ricki's shown a lot of confidence in me and I'm trying to repay him. Hopefully I can keep it going.''