Before the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Winston Reid was a relatively unknown football player. He was known by few to be an average defender who chose to play for New Zealand instead of Denmark.
During the World Cup, however, Reid's profile gained some much needed attention and caught many clubs' eyes, as he played as one of the three rocks in New Zealand's miraculous unbeaten run in the World Cup.
Reid was born on the 3rd of July 1988 in New Zealand and is of Maori heritage through both of his parents. He is one of very few players of Maori heritage to cut it out in the footballing industry, and no I don't mean Rugby.
When he was 10 Winston moved to Denmark. At 17 Reid signed with Danish First Division side Midtylland and immediately started to get game time, ending with nine appearances in his first season of Danish top flight action.
In 2006 Reid received Danish citizenship and was subsequently called into the Danish U/19 squad and gradually into the Danish U/21 squad. He also represented Denmark in the 2009 European U/21 Championship qualification playoffs.
Reid's career seemed bright at this stage; he represented Denmark at youth levels and played week in week out for his club side. But on the 11th of March 2010 Reid announced that he wanted to represent his native New Zealand and on the 13th of March he made himself available for selection into New Zealand's World Cup squad.
Fortunately enough for him, New Zealand manager Ricky Herbert selected the promising young defender purely on the basis of what he had heard about him. This selection was regarded as a good one because New Zealand were low on stocks in their defence.
On the 10th of May, Reid made his debut for New Zealand in Australia. Although only playing one half of football it was clear that New Zealand looked a better side with him on defence. In his second appearance for New Zealand, Reid played a key role in an upset victory over Serbia where Ricky Herbert was quoted as saying he was "suitably impressed" with Reid's performance, but the best was yet to come.
With the World Cup up and running, New Zealand's first game was against the unknown Slovakians, with New Zealand's average build up to the tournament, New Zealand were expected to be easy wins in a difficult group. In that game, though, New Zealand matched the Slovakians, not so much technically but in their ability to defend.
Reid, along with captain Ryan Nelsen and Tomy Smith, looked unstoppable up until Robert Vittek of Slovakia opened the scoring. New Zealand knew they had nothing to lose and started to apply pressure to the Slovakian defence, and this eventually payed dividends with an unexpected lack of concentration allowing Reid to head the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net and immediately install himself into New Zealand folklore.
That moment, along with the impressive draws against World Champions Italy and a resulote Paraguay side, gained Reid a wealth of admirers. He wrote himself into New Zealand's now-proud footballing history, and he has shown how consistent he can be. Reid has been a revelation and some of those admirers include Arsenal's Arsene Wenger and Blackburn's Sam Allardyce who have been linked with the player's signature.
What I wanted people to get out of this article is that any player can rise from mediocrity and can stand out if they believe and strive for what they want to achieve.