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All Whites coach questions 'negativity'

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/03/2017 Cathy Walshe

<p>Anthony Hudson</p> © Reuters

Anthony Hudson

A testy Anthony Hudson has questioned what he perceives as negativity around some of his selections for the All Whites ahead of their World Cup qualifying series against Fiji.

The New Zealand team leave for Lautoka on Friday after a week's training camp in Wellington, then return for the second leg of the home-and-away series at Westpac Stadium on Tuesday.

The omissions of Phoenix midfielder Kosta Barbarouses and Central Coast Mariners defender Storm Roux have caused some discussion, as have surprise call-ups for Alex Rufer and 17-year-old defender Dane Ingham.

"I feel positive about this squad and positive about where we're at," Hudson told media on Thursday.

"But there's a lot of negativity around this selection, and I don't quite get that. I find it really bizarre."

Despite his lack of game time for the Phoenix, Rufer has been called up as a late replacement for injured Ipswich Town attacking midfielder Monty Patterson.

Rufer has played just three A-League games this season, the most recent a five-minute cameo against the Mariners on November 12.

His game time with the Phoenix reserves has also been limited.

Ingham has played two games for the Brisbane Roar, making his first team debut last month against Melbourne City.

Hudson said there was little point in comparing a national team to club sides who play week-in and week-out.

"Just because a player isn't playing well for his club, or is not in favour with his club, it doesn't mean he's not in favour for his national team," he said.

"To compare us to the Phoenix is completely different - we have a different selection policy, we're only allowed to pick Kiwi players.

"We have a completely different style of play, we train differently, we work differently.

"I would never be influenced by decisions at the Phoenix."

Despite the absence of injured defender Winston Reid, Hudson feels the squad he's assembled is his strongest to date.

"I feel positive about where we're at - training this week has been outstanding. The intensity, the work ethic of the team, the togetherness have all been fantastic.

"The mindset for our team is to go there, and dominate and impose ourselves on the opposition and win."

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