All Whites head coach Danny Hay says veteran defender Winston Reid is playing a key role in the preparation of the squad for their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign.
Hay said Reid’s experience was a vital element in getting the side ready for action against Papua New Guinea.
Now 33, and one of three from the 2010 squad to remain in the All Whites camp — the others are Chris Wood and Tommy Smith — Reid has been used as a mentor for young players.
In the opening game of the Oceania FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament, captain Reid played a full 90 minutes, orchestrating play from the centre of the defence, and inspiring the young players to their 1-0 win against Papua New Guinea.
Before the game, Hay told OFC Media:
“Winnie’s presence, even when he is not playing, is enormous around the playing group.
“We know we have got a very young squad. To have somebody of his experience … the mana he carries amongst the group is massive, he’s been there and seen it all.
“He’s going to provide a little bit of experience with how to deal with certain pressure situations.”
Reid has been without a club since leaving West Ham United in 2021 but has remained committed to the national team’s cause.
His knowledge and guidance, meanwhile, helps players such as new All White Nando Pijnaker who says he has learned plenty from Reid while playing with him for the OlyWhites, as well as in All Whites camps.
“You learn lots of things about everything, like how he looks after his body, how he trains, how he eats, everything like that.” Pijnaker told Stuff’s Andrew Voerman.
“You ask questions, obviously. As a young player, you want to know exactly what he does, so, it was a great opportunity — just talking about leadership and things like that and how he talks to you on the field and his demands and everything.”