The Oly Whites have received a big boost three weeks out from their opening match at the Tokyo Olympics.
New Zealand's football hopes at the Olympics have received a major boost, as Winston Reid is set to join the men's team in Tokyo.
When the squad was named last week Reid's participation was up in the air, as the West Ham defender was yet to receive clearance from his club.
Since the Olympics is not staged within a FIFA window, Reid was bracketed alongside Wellington Phoenix defender Tim Payne, in case he was unable to make the trip.
But the Herald understands that Reid has been given the green light by his Premier League club, and will link with the Oly-Whites in Japan.
The importance of his presence can't be underestimated.
The All-Whites' captain brings mana and leadership, especially to such a young group.
He's been on the Premier League scene since 2010 and remains someone that all aspiring Kiwi footballers look up to.
Along with Chris Wood and Michael Boxall, he will drive standards on and off the field, and lift the levels in training.
Most importantly, Reid remains our best defender, with his pace, anticipation, athleticism and ability on the ball.
He's had a nightmare run with injuries, and hasn't played for West Ham in the EPL since March 2018.
But he looked good for Brentford during a loan spell last season, helping the Bees achieve an historic promotion to the Premier League. Before that he also had playing time (12 games) with Sporting Kansas City in the MLS.
It wouldn't have been straightforward to gain a release from West Ham, which only underlines Reid's desire to be in Tokyo.
It will be his first Olympics campaign, after he missed the 2012 London Games to focus on his pre season with the Hammers, as they had just been promoted from the Championship.
It will also be a chance to Reid to perform on the world stage. It's not known if he is part of West Ham's plans for the coming season, though manager David Moyes will likely assess him upon his return from Tokyo.
He has two years remaining on this contract at the London club and his experience could be a plus for the squad.
The Oly-Whites leave for Japan on Saturday. Their first match is against South Korea on 22 July, followed by games against Honduras (25 July) and Romania (28 July).