Football: Despite club duties, Neil Etheridge assures commitment to Azkals


Posted at May 23 2019 08:50 PM

Despite potential scheduling conflicts, Cardiff City keeper Neil Etheridge doesn't see himself abandoning national-team duties. File/Nick Potts, PA via AP

Cardiff City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge on Thursday said he wants to continue playing for the Philippines in international competition.

A long-time member of the Azkals, Etheridge has been hampered by his commitment to his Premier League club the past year or so.

His calendar in England clashed with the 2019 Asian Cup, forcing him to miss the Philippines' stint there.

Despite the potential for more scheduling conflicts, Etheridge doesn't see himself abandoning national-team duties.

"Of course, I want to be part of the Azkals going into the World Cup qualifiers," Etheridge said in a press conference in Manila, Thursday. 

"I decided to play for the Philippines at 18 years old. I’m 29 now, so [since] 11 years ago, I’ve been with that team."

Etheridge recognized there have been concerns about his future on the national side, but he assured the worries are baseless.

"Yes, people have said, ‘Is he just gonna play Premier League football and just drop the Azkals?’ No, because I’ve been a part of that team for 11 years, and you don’t just drop something after eleven years," he said. 

Meanwhile, Etheridge said the Azkals "did extremely well" in their Asian Cup debut in the United Arab Emirates, coming in having "exceeded a lot of expectations without winning a game."

"Moving forward, I want to continue being part of the Azkals, I feel like I’ve got a lot more to give," he said. 

"I just hope and pray that the Federation and everyone involved gets along the same lines and moves in the same direction."

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