Tommy Smith named in New Zealand squad

IPSWICH defender Tommy Smith is part of New Zealand’s 18-man squad for a friendly against Jamaica at the end of this month.

The centre-back has started the last five matches for Town and his new-found importance at club level has seen Paul Jewell block him from joining up with the All Whites for Olympic qualifiers in March.

But this hasn’t stopped New Zealand boss Ricki Herbert selecting Smith for the friendly in Auckland on February 29 where he could line up alongside West Ham’s Winston Reid and Tottenham’s new signing Ryan Nelson for the first time since the trio impressed in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

In addition to the London Olympics, Smith, who has eight international caps, is also hoping to be selected for Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifiers at the end of the season.

In total, the Town defender will have to help his country progress through 11 qualifiers to reach a two-legged play-off against the fourth best Concacaf nation in November 2013.

And Herbert said: “You have players like Chris Wood, Kosta Barbarouses, Marco Rojas, even Winston Reid and Tommy Smith. They are still young in terms of international games. I think the team will have a pretty exciting look.

“I wouldn’t say it’s one for the future because I think these players will be ready to step up and play in the World Cup qualifiers in June.”