Anthony Hudson has revealed that he is left impressed by the fitness of his squad ahead of the friendly with Japan.
After the recent World Cup qualifying matches against Solomon Islands, the manager took a decision to send Dane Ingham away from the squad as he felt that the defender was not fit for selection. Other players who were left out of the squad include Bill Tuiloma, who also faced the similar issue. As a result, there was a lot of speculation that Hudson was not coming up with the correct fitness regime in order to get the players in shape for the crucial World Cup qualifiers.
However, the manager has revealed that the group has done excellent progressing with regard to fitness compared with the last set of matches. He says that every player should be in a great condition in order to be eligible for selection. Hudson says that the message given to the players has had an immediate effect. New Zealand have been going through a very poor run of form since the summer, but the big 6-1 win over Solomon Islands is a major boost to the national team.
This home victory was followed up by a 2-2 draw with the team in the reverse leg. The friendly against Japan is a great test for New Zealand.
Hudson is also impressed with the progress made by Kosta Barbarouses, and he has praised the 27-year-old for the work rate shown in recent times to be eligible for reintegration into the squad.“I wanted a reaction. I wasn’t willing to put up with it anymore. If we’re not supremely fit and outwork the opposition in November (we won’t win). We’re resilient but you can only be resilient for as long as you’re fit enough. Everyone says it’s a real Kiwi way – resilience – well listen, we want to show that resilience, but you can only be resilient for as much as you’re physically capable to do that, then you drop,” said Hudson.