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Ipswich defender Smith left out by New Zealand for Japan friendly

Ipswich Town's Tommy Smith was overlooked by New Zealand caretaker boss Neil Emblen for next month's friendly with Japan.

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


Glen Moss (Wellington Phoenix, captain) Jacob Spoonley (Team Wellington)


Ben Sigmund (Wellington Phoenix) Bill Tuiloma (Olympique Marseille) Storm Roux (Central Coast Mariners) Michael Boxall (Wellington Phoenix) Andrew Durante (Wellington Phoenix)


Michael McGlinchey (Vegalta Sendai) Chris James (unattached) Ryan Thomas (PEC Zwolle) Tim Payne (Blackburn Rovers) Cameron Howieson (Burnley) Tyler Boyd (Wellington Phoenix)


Shane Smeltz (Perth Glory) Marco Rojas (VfB Stuttgart) Jeremy Brockie (Wellington Phoenix) Kosta Barbarouses (Melbourne Victory) Chris Wood (Leicester City)

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