Will Winston Reid return from the wilderness?

Winston Reid has been without a club for almost a year now, with professional ties having been severed with West Ham United back in September 2021. At that point, an enforced break appeared set to be a short one. Few could have predicted that a man who remains captain of New Zealand would only have international minutes under his belt in 2022. That, though, is the situation that an experienced defender finds himself in.

Questions may be asked of the decision to walk away from the London Stadium, with a Hammers side that has been rejuvenated under the tutelage of David Moyes preparing for a campaign that has them ready to launch another push for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Reid would have been out of contract by now, but sticking around may have offered him a shot at minutes that could have earned an extension. As a result of opting to end his time there, Reid missed out on a memorable season as they reached the Europa League semi-finals and confirmed a second season of European football by finishing seventh. The Hammers are expected to continue this as they are the eighth favourites to win the title. Anyone expecting them to build on their recent success can take advantage of promotions such as the Pinnacle bonus code to place a bet on them finishing in the top four as they could be good value. However, city rivals Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are likely to provide tough competition along with a host of other teams.

Reid is as much of an interested observer as the rest of us at present but it would appear that he has no regrets at having made a big career call that leaves him on the outside looking in, saying of his current situation: “I would rather be in an environment that I could control myself and know what I was working towards, so that’s the route I went down”, as reported by Stuff.

Personal ambition is to be applauded, with it determined that hanging around waiting for an opportunity in England that may never come was going to do nobody any favours. Reid has, however, discovered that his path of choice is a long and winding one.

What’s next?

For now, all that a man with 194 Premier League appearances to his name can do is sit and wait. Patience remains the order of the day as he longs for the phone to ring.

He has been seeing game time, albeit sporadically, and would appear to still have plenty left in the tank. There is, however, no escaping the fact that loan spells at Sporting Kansas City and Brentford have delivered his measly 24 competitive outings in the last four years.

That is not a lot of football and the last 12 months have delivered even less. At a time when he needs to be front and centre in any shop window, Reid finds himself being pushed to the back of the shelf.

No towel is going to be thrown in and all options remain open to consideration, with Reid prepared to go globe trekking again if needs be. He has said about his plans: “I haven’t set a geographic location in mind, it’s just something that has to fit in with the whole picture really.”

That outlook appeared rosy at one stage, as free agency placed fate into his own hands and a bid for World Cup qualification took New Zealand to within touching distance of tickets to Qatar, as covered by the BBC.

Things have not played out as planned, though, and with no major tournament football to look forward to and a lack of club offers on the table, it remains to be seen when, or if, Reid will be offered a route back out of the wilderness.