McGlinchey earning loads of praise

New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert has argued Michael McGlinchey can lay claim to being the best player in this season's Hyundai A-League.

New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert has argued Michael McGlinchey can lay claim to being the best player in this season's Hyundai A-League.

Graham Arnold has often stated his admiration for his Mariners midfielder and recently re-signed the New Zealand-born, Scottish-bred dynamo to a further two-years at the club.

New Zealand coach Herbert is another unabashed fan of the diminutive McGlinchey, having given him a surprise national team call-up for the All Whites in 2009, and believes the 26-year-old midfielder has been pivotal to Central Coast's impressive campaign in the A-League.

Although McGlinchey had already played for Scotland at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the former Celtic teen prodigy has been an ever-present in Herbert's squads since his debut four years ago.

McGlinchey played the full 90 minutes for New Zealand in their crucial 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against New Caledonia in Dunedin on Friday, helping the All Whites secure a 2-1 victory.

The win ensured New Zealand will represent Oceania in an intercontinental playoff versus the fourth-best nation from CONCACAF for a place at next year's World Cup finals in Brazil.

Some New Zealand media outlets tipped he would be given the captain's armband following the recent retirement of long-serving All Whites skipper Ryan Nelsen, with the honour eventually being bestowed upon West Ham United defender Winston Reid.

McGlinchey didn't get on the pitch at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa but his ever-improving form for club and country - not to mention Herbert's admiration - suggests that would change should the Kiwis reach Brazil 2014.

"Michael has been outstanding this season in the A-League, and he has been arguably been the best player in the competition," Herbert said.

"Personally I think it is the best season he has had since he arrived in Australia. Michael has been a massive influence for the Mariners this season."

While others tend to grab the lion's share of Hyundai A-League headlines, statistics back up Herbert's claim with McGlinchey creating more goalscoring chances than any other player this season.

McGlinchey's six-goal contribution from midfield has been invaluable for the Mariners and a massive improvement on his goal-scoring tallies of previous seasons.

"Stability is important for a lot of players and Michael has certainly found his feet at the Mariners, and that is also credit to Graham Arnold and everyone at the club," Herbert said.

"He is wonderful at timing runs going forward and operating just behind the forward line.

"He is certainly a crucial player for us (New Zealand) in midfield in terms of creating chances and hopefully finishing them as well."

A one-time "boy wonder" who became Celtic's youngest-ever debutant at 15, McGlinchey has enjoyed a new lease on life since linking with the Mariners.

But can he fulfil the potential he showed as a youth team player a Celtic?

"He will improve even further with maturity," Herbert said.

"He brings a certain x-factor and he will keep on growing and growing, which he can do for the national team and his club side."