Monday, May 31, 2010

Player Profile Number 6: Tommy Smith

Tommy Smith of NZ is the player I profile from Group F.

Tommy Smith is a product of the Ipswich Town academy. At the tender age of 20 he has already suffered two horrific injuries - the first a broken ankle, the second to his hand. This has meant opportunities for him to impress in the Ipswich Town first team have been limited. He has played 16 league games for Ipswich Town of the Championship,15 on loan for Stevenage Borough of the Conference and 8 on loan for Brentford of League 1.

Thus the English born Smith (like many of the NZ team) has had an inauspicious start as a professional footballer. However this defender can boast being a member of the England U17 and U18 squad. He is allowed to play for NZ thanks to FIFA recently overturning the rule that said if you play for one country's age group side they are also the only international team you can play for. Having spent a number of years living in NZ as a youngster Smith had dual nationality and elected to play for the All Whites once they had qualified for South Africa.

I have only had the pleasure of watching him in one and a half games of football: first as a substitute in the friendly against Australia and then starting in New Zealand's historic victory over Serbia. Against Australia he was employed in the left wing-back role and was very composed both in defence and attack. Against Serbia, ranked 15th in the world, he played on the left side in a central defensive three and barely put a foot wrong.

He appears to be a young man who has a big future. He is a very likely starter in the New Zealand defence. NZ will have to be at its top defensively if it is to have any chance of positive results at the World Cup and so Tommy Smith shapes up as a crucial player. I have the sneaking suspicion he will equip himself very well.

No comments: