May 19 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, June 21, 2012
West Ham defender Winston Reid has insisted that it was his decision not to play for New Zealand at the Olympic Games, writes Kirk Blows.
The 23-year-old was set to be included as one of three over-age players in the 18-man Kiwis squad for London 2012.
But Hammers boss Sam Allardyce wanted Reid to be available for the club’s pre-season programme – and so the defender, who made 33 appearances last term, has been excluded from selection.
Reid said: “At the end of the day it was my decision and I felt what I was doing was the right decision.
“I’m not saying I didn’t want to go to the Olympics or play for New Zealand, because I would have loved to.
“But I’ve got other commitments right now and in the long run that will hopefully benefit myself and New Zealand as well.”
Reid joined West Ham from FC Midtjylland in the summer of 2010 after he played for the Kiwis in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
He was restricted to just 12 outings for the Hammers as they were relegated from the Premier League, but he established himself as a key part of the squad that won promotion last season.
And with several new players set to be signed this summer, Reid is keen to stake a claim to remain in the side when the new campaign commences.
He said: “It would be different if I’d been at the club for six or seven years.
“Maybe then I could have done it, but I needed to work hard this pre-season and make sure the spot is mine at West Ham.
“I could have pushed for it but I had to ask myself what was going to benefit me most.
“So I decided not to go to the Olympics and stay at West Ham and fight for my spot.”
New Zealand football chief executive Grant McKavanagh admitted he was disappointed to lose Reid’s services.
He said: “We would have liked to have seen him press harder, but at the end of the day the club make the decision around this.”
West Ham explained their decision in a letter to New Zealand’s football chiefs, insisting they were not obliged to release over-age players.
Hammers defender James Tomkins has been named in the provisional 35-man Great Britain squad for the Olympic Games.