Philippines team manger Dan Palami has come to the defence of goalkeeper Neil Etheridge after it was revealed that the Cardiff City goalkeeper will only play one game for his nation at the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
Philippines are making their debut in the continental competition when the tournament goes on the floor in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on January, but Etheridge, one of their biggest stars, is set to play only a cameo for the Azkals.
According to PFF president Mariano Araneta, Etheridge will only guard the goal for Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side in their Asian Cup opener against Korea Republic on January 7.
The 28-year-old will be unavailable for Azkals’ group games against China on January 11 and the Kyrgyz Republic on January 16 as well as the knockout stages if the Philippines manage to progress.
And Philippines team manager Palami was recently asked about Etheridge’s involvement in the tournament
“I think at this point in time nobody can question his commitment to the national team,” Palami told Inquirer Sports.
“But he also has to secure his position with Cardiff City, which is something that he has worked very hard for over the last few years,” he added.
Etheridge’s club Cardiff are fighting to stay in the Premier League and sit just above the relegation spots ahead of Burnley, Huddersfield Town and Fulham.
The Welsh club will play Tottenham Hotspur in the league on January 1 before facing Gillingham in the FA Cup on January 5. The Bluebirds will then play Huddersfield Town in the league on January 12.