West Ham defender Winston Reid to return from lengthy lay-off for New Zealand

West Ham defender Winston Reid to return from lengthy lay-off for New Zealand

Winston Reid has joked that his wife wants to “kill him” as he prepares to return from an 18-month injury nightmare.

The 31-year-old West Ham defender has been sidelined by a knee injury since March last year, but is poised to pull on his boots once again in Dublin on Thursday evening as he captains New Zealand in their friendly clash with the Republic of Ireland.

That will end a saga which has gone on far too long for his liking, and apparently that of Mrs Reid.

He said with a smile: “It’s been a long time – I think my wife wants to kill me at this point.

“I’ve been fortunate enough throughout my career not to have too many serious injuries. Unfortunately I caught one 18 months ago.

“Hopefully I’ve crossed that bridge now and I’m just looking forward to regaining full fitness. It’s taken a long time, hopefully we’re there.

“It’s been a while since we’ve been in camp together. Probably the last time I’ve been involved was Peru a couple of years ago.

“Look, we’re here together, we’ve enjoyed it so far. We’ve trained well and we’re just looking forward to the game tomorrow.”

Reid’s period of inaction has been very nearly matched by his international team-mates with the All Whites not having played a competitive fixture for 525 days.

The intervening period has been one of turmoil with the New Zealand Football Association undergoing significant change, prompting the departure of coach Fritz Schmid and the appointment in his place of former Leeds defender Danny Hay.

The 31-times-capped former international has had just a few days to work with his players ahead of the game at the Aviva Stadium and Sunday’s trip to Lithuania, and he admits that the result against Mick McCarthy’s men is largely irrelevant to him, with World Cup qualification the long-term aim.

He said: “Look, for me I’m parking the result, the result I’m putting to one side. This is all about preparing for 2022 and beyond, actually, for us.

“Like I said, with only two days’ training, we can’t expect miracles. I guess the saying Rome wasn’t built in a day is very much in line with what we’re going through.

“We’ve got to be realistic about what’s going to happen tomorrow. There are going to be times when the players make mistakes, but we really want to come away from tomorrow’s game and the one against Lithuania having a really good idea about the character, mentality, our level of investment and the ability to play within the style of play that we’re trying to implement around every single player.”

Burnley striker Chris Wood did not train on Wednesday because of a knock, and Hay insisted he would not take any risks with his players.

More on this topic

Paul Rouse: Roy proves that you can’t keep a good man downPaul Rouse: Roy proves that you can’t keep a good man down

Cardiff’s appeal against paying €6m to Nantes to be heard by CASCardiff’s appeal against paying €6m to Nantes to be heard by CAS

Thursday's football rumours from the mediaThursday's football rumours from the media

Celtic move two points clear of Rangers after Scott Brown’s late winnerCeltic move two points clear of Rangers after Scott Brown’s late winner

More in this Section

The bond exists forever’: John Giles misses Premier League punditry to be with old Leeds palsThe bond exists forever’: John Giles misses Premier League punditry to be with old Leeds pals

Jose Mourinho gets reminder of scale of Spurs rebuildJose Mourinho gets reminder of scale of Spurs rebuild

Divock Origi double leaves Everton boss Marco Silva on the brinkDivock Origi double leaves Everton boss Marco Silva on the brink

Provinces to be redrawn in GAA’s bold new eraProvinces to be redrawn in GAA’s bold new era


Lifestyle

The Marquee in Cork dominated the gig news this week, with a string of announcements for what is expected to be the final year at the Monahan Road venue before the site is developedScene + Heard: The most played artist on Spotify and all the latest music news

Esther N McCarthy picks perfect paperweights, brilliant books and Christmas collectables this week.Brilliant books and Christmas collectables - here's our wish list

John Spillane tells Ellie O’Byrne how he’s hoping to fund his next album by taking the bardic route of writing unique compositions for people on whatever they’d like‘I’ll write you a song for €1,000' - John Spillane's unique way to fund new album

From starring in a Cork-set film, to securing a role in Ridley Scott’s major new HBO series, it has been quite a year for Niamh Algar, writes Esther McCarthyIreland’s next big thing: Niamh Algar on her incredible year

More From The Irish Examiner