West Ham's Allardyce criticises NZ Football
West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce has fired a broadside at New Zealand Football and All Whites team management, accusing them of not trusting the English Premier League club over Winston Reid's injury situation.
Reid suffered from back spasms in a Premier League match against Arsenal two weeks ago, and had to stay in London for scans before he was cleared to join the All Whites for the two World Cup qualifying matches against Tahiti.
Reid arrived in New Zealand last Friday, missing the first match in Papeete but with the All Whites expecting him to be fit and ready for the second match, in Christchurch on Tuesday.
However, Reid was not selected for that match, with coach Ricki Herbert choosing not to risk him. When pressed at the post-match media conference, Herbert said Reid would probably have been fit enough to play if he absolutely needed him to.
New Zealand won the matches 2-0 and 3-0 to edge closer to a spot in the 2014 World Cup.
Reid's around-the-world trip has not gone down well with Allardyce, who was highly critical of New Zealand's decision to recall him for the qualifiers, when quizzed by English reporters overnight.
The central defender is in doubt for West Ham's match against Southampton this weekend and Allardyce insists NZF were wrong to make him travel when he was already injured.
"I don't see any sense in calling them over and particularly that far, because they are injured. I don't see any sense it in at all," Allardyce told reporters in London.
"I also think there was an underlining factor that they didn't trust him or us that he was injured.
"There's another underlining factor that tells me that the players are brought there and then they're put under enormous pressure to play, because of the loyalties to the country by the coaches and certain political elements, which they have to resist.
"On one hand I'm all for international football but it doesn't make any sense to take them because they can't play. I don't understand that at all."
NZF are entitled to call upon any player in a designated Fifa window and clubs are obliged to release them if they're not injured. Scans had cleared Reid to travel so Herbert was within his rights to call Reid up for what were two important matches, given so much was on the line and also what happened when New Zealand were missing frontline players at the Oceania Nations Cup in June.
But Allardyce's concerns are also understandable given the fact Reid, a first-choice player for West Ham, had been injured and he was only ever likely to play one of the two matches, at best.
- © Fairfax NZ News