Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock has been given a major boost ahead of the second half of the Premier League season.
As reported by BBC Sport, first-choice goalkeeper Neil Etheridge has not been called up by Philippines manager Sven-Goran Eriksson for the upcoming Asian Cup.
The tournament is scheduled to take place in the United Arab Emirates between January 5th and February 1st, meaning the 28-year-old could’ve missed up to five Bluebirds matches had his country reached the final.
This is the first time the Philippines have qualified for the tournament in their history, with 62-cap Etheridge playing a key role in the qualifying campaign.
The ‘keeper has started every one of his club’s 19 Premier League matches this season, keeping four clean sheets and conceding 38 goals in the process.
Alex Smithies is his current number two, and it looks like the former Queens Park Rangers man will be forced to wait that bit longer for his chance.
On the situation, Warnock said:
I spoke to Sven. I would have been happy whatever, but he was really forthcoming. He said, ‘Neil knows how important it is for you and the club and I respect that’. I could not say any more really, well done.
They can override that if they want… Neil wanted to stay and help us, he didn’t want to lose his place. I can only go on what Neil and Sven have said to me when they have spoken together. He could have gone for the first game and come back, but would that have been fair on the goalkeepers over there to do that? I don’t think it would have been.