• Winston Reid requires knee operation
  • Defender will be out for up to 12 weeks
  • Chris Wood to replace Reid as skipper 

New Zealand have been dealt a major blow ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup after captain Winston Reid was ruled out with a knee injury.

The West Ham United centre-half is to undergo an operation to remove a bone growth and will be sidelined for up to 12 weeks. Striker Chris Wood will captain the All Whites in Reid’s absence.

“I’ve struggled with [the injury] for the last six weeks and it hasn’t got any better,” said the 28-year-old. “Obviously I’m really disappointed to be missing the Confederations Cup, but if I had gone there and played, it would not have got better.

“We gave it a try for three weeks with some different methods to see if it would react in a different way, but unfortunately it didn’t, so I had to go in for an operation. It is what it is.”

New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson spoke to his skipper about the setback and, while hugely disappointed, he spoke confidently of his team’s ability to compete without their influential captain.

“It is really disappointing news,” said Hudson. “It is not only disappointing for us but it is disappointing for him. I could hear in his voice how much he wanted to come. He has been in touch leading up to this tournament for so long and had friends and family coming over. It was a tournament that our captain wanted to be a part of, and not only be a part of but do something significant.

“But I said when I started that we needed depth, so that if we lose one of our key players ahead of a big tournament or a qualifier it doesn’t hurt us. Although we have lost our captain, we have a very strong squad now and it doesn’t change anything in terms of what we are planning to do, how we are going to prepare, our mind-set. I’m very optimistic.”

New Zealand will face hosts Russia, Mexico and Portugal at the Confederations Cup, which takes place between 17 June and 2 July.