You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Smith ready to make amends for All Whites

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/03/2017 Angelo Risso

Recalled All Whites star Tommy Smith in action for Ipswich Town in the English Championship. © Stu Forster/Getty Images Recalled All Whites star Tommy Smith in action for Ipswich Town in the English Championship. Tommy Smith knows there are Kiwis out there who question his loyalty to the All Whites cause.

He knows it - and he can understand them completely.

The 26-year-old has transitioned back into the international fold for this weekend's World Cup qualifier against Fiji in Lautoka, bringing a two-and-a-half year absence from the Kiwi squad to an end.

The Ipswich Town defender, who last played in the white shirt in November 2014, was frozen out by boss Anthony Hudson for a perceived lack of commitment.

But after clear-the-air talks with Hudson in October, in England, Smith is back and set to slot straight into the heart of the Kiwi defence.

Even more importantly, he's set to make amends to those he disappointed.

"It's down to me now to prove them wrong and show my commitment again, and win them over," Smith told reporters in Wellington.

"Anthony wanted that 100 per cent commitment from me and I'm happy to do that. I love pulling on the shirt."

The English-born Smith wouldn't be drawn on his conversations with Hudson late last year, saying it was a private matter.

Nevertheless he felt obliged to give a few senior All Whites a call - including in-form marksman Chris Wood - and ask if he was still welcome.

Much to his relief, no grudges were held.

"I didn't want to come in and disrupt things - I wanted to come in and help things if possible and the lads have been great," Smith said.

With all forgiven and forgotten, Smith's leadership and 29-cap experience will prove key in the absence of crocked stalwart Winston Reid.

Although Fiji will struggle to match the All Whites pound for pound, steamy Lautoka conditions may play in the hosts' favour.

Wellington Phoenix winger Roy Krishna could also pack a fair punch.

"When you go to the islands, there are never any easy games," Smith said.

"They'll be a lot more used to the heat than we are but that's just something we'll have to deal with."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon