Defender Tommy Smith has explained why he left the All Whites camp in Spain to help out his Milton Keynes club in England’s League Two.
Smith (33) missed New Zealand’s game against DR Congo to play in MI Dons’ 2-2 draw with Barrow.
Smith says he was in the All Whites camp when he got a call from Dons manager Graham Alexander, saying injuries and a suspension had left his side short.
“He just asked whether there might be a chance they could release me to come back,” he told MKCitizen.
“I had to go and chat with the New Zealand manager (Darren Bazeley) about it. I explained what was happening at the club, and he was more than receptive. It would have been easy for him to say no, and for me to stay there, but it was very good of him to let me do it.
“It did help that I wasn’t too far away, it wasn’t like I had to fly back from New Zealand, it was only a short hop from Spain, and the team met back up again on Saturday night in London so I didn’t miss too much of the camp other than the first game.
“Every time I get called up, I really look forward to it. It’s a shame that a lot of the time, I miss games for the club but fortunately I we managed to come to an agreement which allowed me to play last weekend.”
Smith’s efforts were to no available, with Alexander losing his job after the game.
Smith re-united with the All Whites in London, ahead of the Soccer Ashes Trophy match against Australia, for which he was an unused substitute.