Merrick: I'm optimistic Durante will play for NZ in PNG

Phoenix captain Andrew Durante. Photo / Ross Setford.
Phoenix captain Andrew Durante. Photo / Ross Setford.

Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante looks set to come out of international retirement to answer the All Whites' SOS call and represent New Zealand at the upcoming OFC Nations Cup.

The 33-year old defender retired from international football late last year due to family reasons but Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick said he expects Durante to be playing in Papua New Guinea.

"The indications I get are that he's pretty positive about representing the All Whites and he's one of these characters that never lets anyone down," said Merrick.

"If he had to let anyone down it would be for family reasons, not because he didn't want to do his best for New Zealand and so I'm pretty optimistic that he will be in PNG."

It's understood Reid has informed coach Anthony Hudson he won't be coming to the OFC tournament in late May and early June. There's also doubt Tommy Smith, who has often filled in as skipper in Reid's absence, will be available either.

Durante's return would mirror that Ivan Vicelich, who retired from international football in 2007, only to answer an emergency call from then coach Ricki Herbert to replace Nelsen ahead of the 2009 Confederations Cup. Vicelich went on to play a key role in qualification for the 2010 World Cup and eventually played the last of his 88 full internationals in November 2013.

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