Keane warns Smith of World Cup dangers

IPSWICH TOWN: Tommy Smith has had the hazards of the World Cup drilled into him by Blues manager Roy Keane.

One mistake and it could reverberate around the globe and have a lasting effect.

The 20-year-old Town defender is in the New Zealand squad for football’s biggest jamboree that starts in South Africa at the end of next week.

“Its football’s biggest arena and one mistake will be highlighted,” said Keane.

“One error could be all it takes to go out – and then you’ve got to wait four years for it to come around again.

“Defenders make mistakes and Tommy will be playing against the world’s top players.

“I shall be in touch with him before the tournament kicks-off and my advice will be to keep it simple.

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“To keep it tight, and to treat the games as he would treat a training session at Playford Road.

“The same principle applies and Tommy should stay close stop his opponents from turning if possible.

“And if he gets the chance he should not hesitate to nail a world star.”

And speaking on Ipswich Player, Keane added: “New Zealand are not expected to do well so Tommy should enjoy the occasion as under dogs can.

“If he gets into the team he has three tough group games ahead of him and the World Cup should make him a better player.”

Smith’s superb display in the 1-0 win over Serbia last week has given All Whites coach Ricki Herbert something that the Kiwis have rarely had – a selection dilemma.

Along with Winston Reid he has given Herbert a bit of a headache with two young defenders catching the eye against the millionaires of Serbia.

Ben Sigmund and Ivan Vicelich battled alongside Blackburn’s Ryan Nelsen to get New Zealand to the World Cup, but they might find themselves pushed out by a former Danish and English youth international.

New Zealand have not appeared at the finals since the 1982 tournament in Spain, their only other appearance at this stage, but did not win a point that year.

Assistant manager Brian Turner wants to play down their victory over Serbia, saying: “We just want to take it one step at a time but it’s probably fair to say we can’t fly in under the radar after a performance like that.

“People will be much more aware of our strengths and probably be a bit better prepared when they do play us.”

New Zealand’s other two group games are against Italy and Paraguay.

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