New Zealand will be taking on Japan in a friendly match at Tokyo tonight. Ahead of the match, there is uncertainty surrounding the future of manager Neil Emblen, as he has been appointed only for this match. He has been the assistant manager of former coach Ricki Herbert for the last three years during which time the national team achieved immense success. Hence, there is pressure on Emblen to at least preserve this status when New Zealand take on one of the World Cup qualified teams – Japan – in a friendly match.
Emblen has named a youthful looking squad for this encounter with a number of players around the ages of 19 and 20. Ryan Thomas and Tyler Boyd are one of the high-profile inclusions under the decision by the manager to introduce new players to the national team squad. However, Emblen is aware that he will be able to retain his job only with a good performance against Japan. The team has been on a poor run of form in the last five matches. Since they have failed to qualify for the World Cup 2014, it is imperative that the nation are in the best of shape prior to the start of qualification for the next World Cup, which is expected to take place in Russia.
“We’ll be certainly looking to show a brave possession-based brand of football. It’s not like we’re bringing in players that don’t deserve to be involved, but yes some of the older guys have now been overlooked for this game, a couple of players unavailable,” said Emblen regarding the upcoming match against Japan. Senior players like Marco Rojas, Tommy Smith, and Winston Reid are unavailable for this match due to several reasons. Smith, for example, has chosen to remain with Ipswich Town for this international break.