Steven Holloway is the football writer for the NZ Herald.

The Big Read: Anthony Hudson flips the script

It's usually the media's job to highlight the negatives in football, rather than the national coach.

So these are curious times, when the biggest test of Anthony Hudson's authority since taking up the All Whites job should this week arise not from outside influences but through a maelstrom of his own creation.

Hudson called New Zealand's footballing culture an "epidemic" and that it was "impossible" to build a team capable of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup unless they get more games and were more professional. "What's the reaction been?" he asks breezily, a day after his initial tirade. "I haven't followed anything."

The reaction has been mixed. Some players have been supportive but former All Whites coach Kevin Fallon declared his outburst a "declaration of death" and former NZF chief executive Graham Seatter suggested he is adding to NZF's problems rather than finding solutions.

"I love what I do, I love my job," Hudson says. "I believe in the players. The only frustrating part is that I'm a coach who really wants to get this team to the World Cup and to do that we need more games. We all know that, but I'm the one who has to scream and shout about it. No one else is going to do it for me."

It's not yet known how NZF will react to his statements. CEO Andy Martin returns from holiday on Friday, but it's unlikely he foresaw this when he hired Hudson 18 months ago.

Hudson was headhunted from Bahrain early into his two-year contract. At the time, Martin said it was Hudson's hunger, ambition, organisation and attention to detail which separated him from the 108 other applicants. According to Hudson, this is what hungry coaches should do.

The 34-year-old is in great shape and looks like he could still do a job in the middle of midfield. He sacrificed the dream of making it as a professional footballer in his mid-twenties to pursue coaching. He had his first professional coaching gig at 27 and has spent time learning from some of the world's leading managers, including Argentina's Marcelo Beilsa at Athletic Bilbao, Harry Redknapp at Tottenham (who labelled him a young Jose Mourinho) and then Mourinho himself at Real Madrid.

"I have skypes with senior coaches like Harry every month and, since I've been here, I've done a study visit to watch Zola's team in Qatar."

But his results over the past two years have been average at best. Hudson coached Bahrain to four wins, five draws and three losses and has just one win to show from his six games in charge of the All Whites - a 1-0 win over Oman in November.

"I know there's a lot of criticism out there about me that I really don't care about. But one thing is for sure, my daily mindset is that I want to develop and I want to develop the team. And if you talk to anyone around me, that's how I am. My whole life is football.

"My family are not here, I don't party, I'm not off driving around the beach at weekends. I've probably only been to a handful of places since I've been here. People keep telling me I need to see New Zealand. It's not that I don't want to, it's more that I want to be developing football. I'm not here for a holiday or to be picking wages up, I'm here to develop."

Hudson highlighted New Zealand's "delusional" youth problem with an anecdote from an interaction with a young player last year.

"We had a player that had a bit of a stomach on him during training and Alex [Armstrong], my assistant, pointed it out to him. And the response back was, 'yeah, but I can beat everyone here in a race'. That's an example of what I'm talking about. That's the bar of what we're setting ourselves against. With that attitude, every time they go somewhere where it's hard, they will be coming straight back."

With no fixtures until the OFC Nations Cup in May, Hudson spends his days preparing individual and team videos, updating and improving training drills and planning for May.

Despite his agitation with the current New Zealand Football set-up, he has no plans to walk away from the game here. But just how Martin defends New Zealand's dismal 2015 fixture list may have a large bearing on that.

Inside the NZF office there's a large sign that says, "No Excuses".

Perhaps Hudson and Martin could call a press conference in front of it early next week.

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