Neil Etheridge: Cardiff City goalkeeper left out of Philippines squad for Asian Cup

Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge has been one of Cardiff's stand-out performers this season
Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge has been one of Cardiff's stand-out performers this season

Cardiff City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge will be absent during the 2019 Asian Cup after being omitted from the Philippines squad.

The 28-year-old had been set to play just one game at the tournament, the opener with South Korea on 7 January.

Philippine Federation president Maiano Araneta had said they understood "the importance of Neil with Cardiff".

That dispensation has been extended so Etheridge is now not required for any of the month-long tournament.

In preparation for Asia's showpiece tournament, the Philippines will hold a training camp in Doha, Qatar, before playing a friendly international against Vietnam on 31 December.

Those plans could have ruled Etheridge out of the Bluebirds' Premier League game with Tottenham Hotspur on 1 January, plus the trip to face Gillingham in the FA Cup third round on 5 January.

But Cardiff, currently 17th in the Premier League, will have their first-choice goalkeeper fully available over that period.

Other Premier League clubs will be without some of their top performers on Asian Cup duty, with the likes of Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper Mat Ryan, Newcastle's Ki Sung-yeung and Spurs' Son Heung-min likely to miss large chunks of January.

However, Spurs have negotiated with South Korea so that Son will not be required for their opening two pool games and will fly out after the game against Manchester United on 13 January.

After facing South Korea, the Philippines - managed by former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson - play China on 11 January and Kyrgyzstan on 16 January in the group stage, with further games to follow if they qualify for the group stage.

The Asian Cup is held once every four years and in 2019 will run from 5 January to 1 February in the United Arab Emirates.

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