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Durante wants better from second coming

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/09/2016 By Daniel Gilhooly

Oribe Peralta of Mexico reaches out for the ball past Andrew Durante of New Zealand. © Hannah Peters/Getty Images Oribe Peralta of Mexico reaches out for the ball past Andrew Durante of New Zealand. A little Mexican payback is on Andrew Durante's mind as he prepares for his surprise return to the All Whites.

The Wellington Phoenix skipper returns to international duty for the two-match tour to the United States, where Mexico lie in wait in Nashville on October 8. Three days later they face the US in Washington DC.

The first match has piqued the interest of accomplished centre back Durante, who is still hurting from the World Cup intercontinental qualifying lesson from Mexico three years ago.

Durante played all 180 minutes of the two-leg play-off as New Zealand conceded nine goals, losing 5-1 in Mexico and 4-2 in Wellington.

"Personally, I'd love to make amends. We got touched up," Durante said.

"We're going to have a go at them and I think New Zealand, the country, will see it will be a much-improved team."

Australian-born Durante was widely believed to have retired from the international game last year after nine appearances for his adopted country.

However, he stressed he had only "stepped aside" for personal reasons following the birth of his third child and a lean selection run under coach Anthony Hudson.

Hudson approached Durante about a return earlier this year but the veteran declined, feeling at a low ebb after leading a slumping Phoenix to ninth in the A-League.

"The Phoenix season was a really difficult one, probably the poorest on record," Durante said.

"I really struggled with it mentally. I wasn't in the right place to commit to international football. I needed that off-season to get my mind right.

"I'd kind of fell out of love with the game, it was really affecting me."

A holiday with family was revitalising and he told Hudson he was available for all training and travel commitments.

The tour means Durante misses the first match of the Phoenix campaign next week, along with teammates Kosta Barbarouses, Michael McGlinchey and Matthew Ridenton.

Durante says his experience will be useful in a young New Zealand squad although he reckons captain and West Ham defender Winston Reid is the man most players will look up to.

"He just lifts the changing room. People are in awe of the guy, he's playing at the top level week in-week out," Durante said.

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