He is never one for hyperbole, but Winston Reid is quietly confident about the Oly Whites' prospects at the Tokyo Olympics.
The presence of West Ham's Reid and Burnley's Chris Wood, along with a core of talented youngsters making their way at European professional clubs, makes this team easily the strongest squad New Zealand has sent to an age-group tournament.
That potential was underlined with a 2-0 victory over the Australian Oly Roos in a training match on Monday.
While not too much can be read into pre-tournament friendlies, as coaches tend to shuffle their decks, any result against Australia is heartening, given their traditional dominance of the transtasman football equation.
"We had a good first performance against Australia, but we also understand that there's a lot of things that we needed to do better as a team [and] individually as well," said Reid.
"But that comes with time. And the only way we're going to get better is by getting reps together and training and playing, but the group has promising signs - certainly it's such a talented group."
Reid's presence in Japan will be crucial, for his defensive nous, his leadership and the confidence that filters through when he is around.
It was a complicated process for Reid to get to Japan – after extended negotiations with West Ham around his release – but the 33-year-old was determined to be part of it.
"I'm not getting any younger," said Reid. "I wanted to come; I didn't know the next time the Olympics comes around [if] I was going to be available. I missed out on the last one in 2012 because I had to stay at my club. And this one I was able to make it, so I was thankful."
Coach Danny Hay elaborated further, saying that Reid had made "some sacrifices" to make the trip.
"For me, it says a lot about his character and his desire to be part of this group," said Hay. "It's massive, to have him here. The work that he's done off the field with some of the younger players, they've been blown away by his leadership and how open he is. Then even on the training pitch - the advice he's given them has been invaluable."
After a long period blighted by injuries, Reid is in a good headspace, following a positive loan spell with Brentford, helping the Bees achieve an historic promotion to the English Premier League.
"That was good," said Reid. "I got to go to a good club. I knew a majority of them before I went there. So I knew what I was going into and the main goal was to help them get promoted and we were fortunate enough to do that. I enjoyed my time there."
After a week in camp, the team has adjusted well to the Japanese summer heat and have had no issues being inside the Olympic bubble. While Covid cases are continuing to rise in Tokyo, Hay admits they are been "sheltered from it" at their Atsugi base in Kanagawa prefecture, 45 kilometres from central Tokyo.
Hay's main concern is the availability of Michael Boxall, who is still in the United States under an injury cloud. His MLS club Minnesota United have indicated he won't make the trip – due to a thigh injury – but Hay remains hopeful.
"We're giving Boxy as much time as we possibly can to get himself back to fitness," said Hay. "I know it has been reported that they don't believe he'll be coming but as far as we're aware the agreement was, if he's fit, he comes.
"I have absolutely no doubt that Boxy wants to come and he is doing everything that he possibly can."
If the 32-year-old is ruled out he can't be replaced, but Hay said he was comfortable with the existing squad in Tokyo.
New Zealand's first group game is against South Korea next Thursday (8pm) followed by matches with Honduras (July 25, 8pm) and Romania (July 28, 8:30pm).