Hammers needed Reid to keep playing
Bid to avoid relegation more pressing than Confederations Cup
Questions might be raised about Winston Reid’s absence from the upcoming Confederations Cup.
It’s a huge setback for the team, and one that ultimately may prove the difference between getting a positive result in Russia or not.
It’s also a sad case of deja vu for Reid, who missed New Zealand’s last significant foray on the world stage, injuring his knee at a West Ham training days before the first World Cup playoff game against Mexico at the Azteca Stadium in November 2013.
No one is doubting the validity of his injury — a bone growth and calcification in his left knee — but why did West Ham continue to play him for the past month or so? He was able to train only the day before games for the London club for the past six weeks, and was experiencing pain when running or kicking a ball.
With time off, he may have been able to get through at least two games in Russia, likely to be a career highlight, then have surgery in late June after the tournament. But that’s the utopian view.
The answer i s simple; the Hammers needed Reid on board to ensure they stayed out of the English Premier League relegation zone, after a difficult campaign in which they struggled in their first season at the London Olympic Stadium.
The 28- year- old is probably the team’s best defender — no one has managed more clearances, interceptions or blocks at West Ham this season — and the club pay his wages.
That’s the unfortunate reality. The silver lining is that Reid should be available for November’s World Cup intercontinental playoffs against the fifth- placed South American side, should the All Whites progress through the Oceania finals in August.
While it’s nothing new for Reid to be absent from the national team — since playing seven matches in his debut international year in 2010 ( including the World Cup), he has managed only 14 games — he’ll leave a massive void. Reid gave a reminder of his abilities against Mexico and the United States last year, when he was one of the best players on the field, with his organisation, composure and anticipation.
Like Ryan Nelsen used to, Reid makes other players around him significantly better and also brings so much off the field, especially for the younger members of All Whites coach Anthony Hudson’s squad. But there is depth in the central defensive position, with Tommy Smith, Michael Boxall, Themi Tzimopoulos and Andrew Durante the main contenders.
The Hammers needed Reid on board to ensure they stayed out of the English Premier League relegation zone, after a difficult campaign in which they have struggled in their first season at the London Olympic Stadium.
Winston Reid’s season has been hampered by injury as his club West Ham laboured to avoid being dragged into the Premier League relegation battle.