Tommy Smith holds ‘clear the air talks’ with his New Zealand team mates

Tommy Smith in action for Ipswich Town

Tommy Smith in action for Ipswich Town - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town centre-back Tommy Smith held ‘clear the air’ talks with his New Zealand team-mates when he joined up with the All Whites squad this week.

The 24-year-old announced he was taking a 12 month break from international football back in August, explaining he wanted to concentrate on his club career following a jet-setting few years, but recently did a U-turn on that decision.

He has now revealed he had become frustrated with the way New Zealand were managed towards the end of former head coach Ricki Herbert’s time in charge, citing ‘organisational issues’, and says he has been impressed by new boss Anthony Hudson.

“I bit my tongue and bided my time and I’d rather leave it at that,” said Smith, speaking to ahead of Friday’s friendly in China and next Wednesday’s match in Thailand.

“They were doing their job to the best of their ability. I don’t want to criticise them too much. I got on well with them as people and we had some happy times as well.”

The 27-cap international, who was born in Macclesfield but grew up in New Zealand after his parents emigrated, played in the 2010 World Cup and 2012 London Olympics. He also became the youngest captain in New Zealand football history after leading the All Whites to a 2-2 draw with El Salvador in 2012.

He knows not all of his international team-mates were pleased with his decision to take a break though and he sought to build bridges with senior players on his arrival in China earlier this week.

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“Some people weren’t very happy when I said I wanted to take 12 months out,” said Smith, who met with Hudson at Ipswich Town’s training ground recently. “I wanted to clear the air because I don’t want people to be holding grudges and to not understand the finer details.”

Ipswich Town club-mates Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick (Republic of Ireland) and Christophe Berra (Scotland) will become enemies on Friday when the home nations face each other in a European Championship qualifier at Celtic Park. Both Murphy and Berra have been subs for their country recently, with McGoldrick recently called up for the first time after finally getting his international clearance.

Jonny Williams had to withdraw from the Wales squad, ahead of their Euro qualifier against Belgium, after suffering a thigh injury during Saturday’s 1-0 home win over Watford.

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