Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold has lavished praise on Michael McGlinchey after the midfielder put in a man-of-the-match performance for New Zealand in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.
McGlinchey netted a neat double for the All Whites as they continued their perfect run in round 3 of Oceania qualifying via a 3-0 win over Tahiti in Christchurch.
Playing the full 90 minutes for Ricki Herbert’s team, McGlinchey scored in the third minute of play and additional time at the end of the second stanza to help take New Zealand a step closer to their second consecutive FIFA World Cup finals appearance.
His late second was the pick of the night’s goals. Former A-League star Kosta Barbarouses forced a save from Tahitian custodian Mikael Roche, however Roche could only manage to punch the ball into the path of McGlinchey.
From outside the box, McGlinchey sent a curling effort into the top right corner of the goal.
Arnold has praised McGlinchey’s performances on the international stage.
“‘Mikey has done fantastically well,” Arnold said.
“He got two goals and I hope he can continue that form with us.
“It’s great that one of our three foreigners is a current international. It breaks things up for him. He always comes back (from international duty) much fresher and more hungry, so it’s great to have him in that system over there.”
At the weekend McGlinchey also played the entire match as the All Whites beat Tahiti 2-0 at the Stade Pater in Papeete.
Arnold said that despite his workload and travel commitments, the 2012 London Olympian would be in the reckoning to regain his starting position when the Mariners face Newcastle Jets in the first F3 derby of the season on Saturday.
“He gives me a nice, tough decision to make,” Arnold said.
“I thought Bernie (Ibini) did very well on the weekend.
”He’s a little bit rusty because he’s been out for a few weeks with an injury but for a first game back he was very good. Mile Sterjovski I thought was excellent.
“It gives me a different problem to try and fix with Mikey coming back but that’s the type of problem that you like to have.”
Goalkeeper Mat Ryan, defender Pedj Bojic and midfielder Oliver Bozanic look to have played their last games for Central Coast Mariners as the A-League champion faces a raft of departures.