Reid ruled out of Romania match

7:34 pm on 27 July 2021

A double blow for the OlyWhites ahead of their crunch final pool match at the Tokyo Games.

The New Zealand under-24 men's football team will be without their captain and most experienced defender Winston Reid for Wednesday night's match against Romania.

The OlyWhites will also been unable to call-on fellow senior New Zealand international Michael Boxall to replace Reid.

Winston Reid after his injury during New Zealand v Hondulas, Men's Group B Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games football match at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, Japan on Sunday 25th July 2021.

OlyWhites captain Winston Reid receives attention after limping off the field early in New Zealand's group match against Honduras Photo: Kenji Demura/Photosport Ltd 2021

It's a match they need to win to guarantee a place in the Olympic quarterfinals for the first time.

Reid injured his knee in the opening minutes of the 3-2 defeat to Honduras on Sunday night and New Zealand coach Danny Hay says he won't play against Romania and may not be available for a potential quarterfinal.

"Winston's a massive blow. I can't underestimate how big a blow that was," Hay said.

"Winston's working hard with the medical team. I think he's feeling a lot better than what he did on gameday against Honduras.

"He's had multiple scans. All of those scans have sent to various doctors around the world, some in England, some in the States and some in Denmark that he trusts as well.

"Nothing conclusive has been shown up at this stage but obviously he's very much in doubt but hopefully if we can carry on this journey a little bit longer there may be a slight chance that we can get him back."

Hay says Reid will still be "a big figure for us" tomorrow.

"The fact that we haven't got him on the field is one thing but the reality is we've still got him inside camp and he's still going to be incredibly influential.

"He's a pretty special, unique sort of character. He doesn't say a hell of a lot but when he talks the young players in particular really listen. You can see their ears prick up."

All Whites defender Michael Boxall after New Zealand's international friendly against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin 14/11/2019.

All Whites defender Michael Boxall. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2019

Boxall would be an ideal replacement for Reid, but he hasn't been released by his Major League Soccer side Minnesota United after picking up a thing injury earlier this month.

"Boxy now has officially been ruled out," Hay said.

"As much as we were hoping and he was hoping that he was going to recover from the injury he's had another little setback, which is really unfortunate for him and for us.

"But from our perspective it was worth trying to give him as long as we possibly could."

Apart from a replacement for Reid, Danny Hay has confirmed he will make changes to his XI to face Romania after noticing "a fair bit of fatigue" against Honduras.

"The reality is there's a lot of players in this group that just aren't used to backing up at this levelin this intensity in these sort of conditions with such a short break.

"We'll certainly look to bring some fresh legs in. That's not wholesale changes but there'll definitely be a need to freshen things up."

Michael Woud after New Zealand v Hondulas, Men's Group B Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games football match at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, Japan on Sunday 25th July 2021.

OlyWhites goalkeeper Michael Voud after the 3-2 defeat to Honduras. Photo: Kenji Demura/Photosport Ltd 2021

Hay has confirmed Michael Voud will retain his place in goal, despite being responsible for all three goals the OlyWhites conceded against Honduras.

"He will start and...I've got no doubt that he will do it fine fashion as well.

"For me it's really important that Michael has an opportunity to erase the memories of a few nights ago.

"He's a talented goalkeeper and it's easy to forget he made some really critical saves during that game as well.

"Of course he's disappointed with the goals that he did let in. He's the first to recognise that he could have done a lot better on every single occasion but...he's a young guy

"He's a 22-year-old in goal and he's going to be a future national team player for many years to come and a high level professional."