New Zealand have named former Bahrain coach Anthony Hudson to lead them through the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ campaign.

The 33-year-old Englishman has guided Bahrain for the past 12 months, helping the side win through to January’s AFC Asian Cup in Australia, and he also coached the U-23 national team to the Gulf Cup crown. He previously worked as manager at Football League side Newport County and as Tottenham Hotspur reserves coach.

Hudson takes over from interim coach Neil Emblen, who has held the post since Ricki Herbert ended his eight-year tenure following last year’s World Cup play-off defeat against Mexico.

Hudson, the 16th coach of the New Zealand national men’s side, said he is excited to begin work ahead of the Russia 2018 campaign.

“I’m excited to be joining New Zealand Football as the next coach of the All Whites,” Hudson said.

“With the playing group energised by some exciting young talent in recent times, the All Whites role is an attractive one and I intend to build a programme for New Zealand’s top players which gives them the chance to show the world what they can do.

“It’s an exciting prospect for everyone involved and I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead in what is the next chapter of a developing football story in New Zealand.”

New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin said Hudson shone out from over 100 applicants for the role.

“We have a clear vision for the All Whites moving towards the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and we believe Anthony is the candidate best suited to the task of bringing that vision to life,” Martin said.

“He is driven and has achieved a lot in coaching terms at a relatively young age and, given the make-up of our side, we believe he is an excellent fit for our environment.”

The first test for Hudson and the All Whites team will come in September’s away meeting with Uzbekistan.

The squad for the match in Tashkent will be named later this week with Emblen selecting the side and making the trip as assistant coach.

New Zealand failed to qualify for Brazil 2014 with their play-off defeat to Mexico last November. They qualified for the 2010 World Cup with, ironically, a play-off victory over Bahrain, ending a 28-year drought from the tournament. At South Africa 2010 they were eliminated in the group stage, but were the only nation in the 32-team field to remain undefeated.