The first tour against Canada for new coach Fritz Schmid, may not have been what he hoped for. Many prominent players made a choice to play for their state sides on the day, rather than their country. The players may have let the coach down, but that doesn’t mean they will be sidelined going forward. The players who chose the country, over their state, have given themselves an edge over the others.
Missing the Action
Players who made the decision to forgo their country responsibilities, in favour of their state duties, make up a long list. While the players were a massive loss to the team on the day, NZ still managed to narrowly escape, with only a 1-0 defeat by Canada. Among those who chose not to support Schmid in his debut match are many Major League Soccer players. Two prominent starters, Marinovic and Chris Wood, were considerably missed. They hold permanent starter positions for their country. Many players who also missed out, are still competing for that permanent starter position.
Boxall Stands Up
Coach Fritz Schmid has given the renegade players the benefit of the doubt because he knows how the system works. Most of the players are still fighting to secure their places on their state teams, and missing the matches would have had devastating effects on that battle. Michael Boxall, the captain of the All Whites, was one player who put country before any other. The influential player decided to miss his game for Minnesota United, to stand up for his country. Boxall has been recorded as stating that the leagues all over the world should show some respect for international windows. Putting players in a position that could jeopardise their careers would be prevented, and the best players would be on the field at any given time.