Ipswich defender Smith left out by New Zealand for Japan friendly
The 23-year old defender, who is the All Whites vice-captain, has been given permission to remain with his club as the eighth-placed Tractor Boys chase a spot in the English Championship's top six which would give them the chance to gain promotion to the Premier League.
Emblen said: "I'm sympathetic to Tommy's situation. His club agreed to release him but Tommy feels this is an opportunity to prioritise his club who are fighting for promotion for the first time in a while.
"You either want to play and make the effort to come back like all the other boys or you run the risk of someone else playing well."
The All Whites take on top-ranked Asian side the Blue Samurai in Tokyo on March 5.
New Zealand squad for Japan friendly
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