Winston Reid is determined to play at another Fifa World Cup, one of the main factors in the drive to continue his football career.
His long tenure at West Ham United finished earlier this week, after mutual agreement between club and player.
It’s the end of a remarkable chapter for Reid – who became a fan favourite across more than 200 games and even captained the club – but it won’t be the end of the road.
The All Whites skipper is desperate to help another generation of players experience Fifa’s showpiece, after his wonderful times in South Africa in 2010.
“It’s one of the things that keeps me going,” Reid told Jason Pine on Newstalk ZB. “I want to try and see if we can get the young boys to another World Cup. It’s been a while since we were back.”
Reid missed the 2013 intercontinental playoffs against Mexico due to injury, then was an inspirational presence in the epic series with Peru in Wellington and Lima in 2017 (0-2 on aggregate).
“The last time [against Peru] we were a little bit unlucky, unfortunate to lose [Chris Wood] just before those games,” said Reid. “That was a bit of a kick in the teeth because we had a good enough squad to have gone there.
“This time around hopefully we have a better squad. Danny [Hay] has come on board and he has brought in his ideas, he works hard and does a lot behind the scenes.
“It is looking really good; some good players coming through and as long as they work hard and apply dedication to their craft we should be good enough and we will see how we do.”
Reid’s departure from West Ham seemed inevitable, as a series of cruel long-term injuries had taken him out of the first team equation, after he had been a regular for more than seven seasons.
“The last couple of years weren’t how I wanted to finish things but all in all I had a great time, enjoyed playing at the club, the fans, the teammates and the area as well.”
In his typically understated way, Reid added that he “enjoyed the grind of it”, the physical and mental battle of the world’s toughest football league.
“Playing week in and week out and playing against good players, also getting results with the team as well, which was amazing.”
Reid achieved legendary status on May 10, 2016, when he scored the last goal at Upton Park, an 80th-minute header securing a memorable 3-2 comeback win over Manchester United.
“[Those moments] are for the people that have been supporting the club for so many years, generation after generation,” said Reid. “It was really, really good; a good day to be a part of.”
The defender had some other memorable strikes, with goals in wins over Liverpool, Spurs and Leicester.
His West Ham career encompassed 223 games, including 167 in the Premier League. Like Ryan Nelsen and Wood, Reid’s achievements tended to go under the radar in New Zealand, but he was a defensive colossus and helped to re-establish West Ham in the top flight after their promotion in 2012.
Across his career the London team beat all the top clubs, including Manchester City (three times), Liverpool (three), Chelsea (three), Spurs, (three) and Manchester United (twice).
West Ham qualified for the Europa League twice, reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and their league placing of seventh in 2015-16 was their best in 15 years.
At his peak Reid had the lot; pace, strength, anticipation and a sure touch, vital for his duels with Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney, Jamie Vardy et al.
Reid also overcame a difficult start in England. He endured a torrid debut in a 3-0 defeat at Aston Villa, then only featured twice in the next 21 games (partly due to injury).
“After my first game, I thought it was going to be 11 months [at West Ham] rather than 11 years,” said Reid.That’s football for you. You never know what is around the corner. The main thing – and I have always said it to the young players – is that you can’t give up.
“You might go through tough periods but you can never pack it in. You need a little bit of luck here and there but in general just don’t give up”
Reid played just three full games in the 2010/2011 season as the Hammers were relegated, but established himself the following campaign, helping West Ham return to the Premier League, via a memorable playoff win at Wembley against Blackpool, which he nominates as a career highlight.
At lot has changed since then, not the least the arrival of twins Ariana and Damien in July 2015.
“The older they get the more you turn into a dad, but I enjoy every moment and it only gets better,” said Reid.
But the burning desire to play and compete remains, though his next destination is unlikely to be known until next year.
“For now, I’ll stay put with the family. Obviously the last 20 months with the whole Covid [situation] hasn’t really helped things because it makes it so difficult to get in and out of countries.”
“[The] priority in the immediate future is just take care of my family and then once we get closer to the next transfer window we will figure something out and take it from there. I want to keep playing, keep myself fit and be ready to go.”
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