Two more All Whites have been sent home - but there won't be any controversy this time.

There has been some questionable decisions around the All Whites' selection in the last few weeks, but the decision to send Chris Wood and Ryan Thomas back to the Northern hemisphere early is a smart move.

It was announced on Saturday night that Wood and Thomas would be released from their national duties on Sunday, to start their journeys back to Burnley and PEC Zwolle respectively.

The early departure of the All Whites' star figures seemed inevitable after the emphatic 6-1 first leg win over the Solomon Islands.


It was probably confirmed with the final two goals on Friday night, which took the New Zealand side from a comfortable 4-1 buffer to a seemingly unassailable lead, ahead of the second leg in Honiara on Tuesday.

It's the right call.

While the decision to evict young defender Dane Ingham was debatable, and the omission of regulars Clayton Lewis and Bill Tuiloma raised eyebrows, this one won't be queried.

It might be seen as special treatment, but it's justified and is unlikely to cause any friction in the camp.

More importantly, the move will appease Burnley and PEC Zwolle, as their co-operation is vital over the next two months.

Wood and Thomas, as well as the rest of the All Whites European-based players, simply have to be available for the October FIFA window - where New Zealand are expected to play Japan - and then released as early as possible for the double header against the fifth placed South American team in November.

The vagaries of the Premier League draw mean Burnley face two games in the space of six days leading into that November window, so New Zealand Football will hope Wood's workload can be managed carefully over that period.

In Holland Zwolle have a Sunday afternoon match (Monday 2:30am NZT) away to Vitesse immediately preceding that November international break, which will affect Thomas' preparation for the first match in Wellington the following Saturday, as he wouldn't arrive into the capital until Tuesday night at the earliest. But this move could mean that NZF may strike some kind of deal with Zwolle, especially as Thomas will also want to optimize his preparation for the playoff.