Etheridge vows to be part of Asian Cup in future

Etheridge vows to be part of Asian Cup in future
Etheridge says it wasn't an easy decision to make.

Doha - He was left out of the national squad for UAE 2019 owing to his Premier League commitments

Cardiff City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge said he hopes to be part of Philippines' AFC Asian Cup team in the future after he was left out of the national squad for UAE 2019 owing to his Premier League commitments.
Had he been selected, his Cardiff City schedule would have allowed him to play one game for his country - against Korea Republic on January 7 - which he felt would have been unfair to other aspirants for the job, the 28-year-old said after manager Sven-Goran Eriksson named his 23-man squad on Thursday.
"It wasn't an easy decision to make," Etheridge told Philippines media. "As people know, I've worked so hard to be playing every week in the Premier League. After a long discussion with people involved, it would be unfair for me to take a spot of another player."
Etheridge's situation came as a boon for Michael Falkesgaard who will now be the number one goalkeeper for the Azkals, with Kevin Ray Hansen, who plays for AC Horsens in the Danish League as his back-up.
The squad has a third goalkeeper, Ace Villanueva, one of just two home-grown players picked for the tournament.
Cardiff City are currently placed 16th in the Premier League standings with 18 points from 20 matches, having defeated Leicester City 1-0 on Saturday. 
Etheridge said his time will surely come.
"It (The AFC Asian Cup) is a fantastic competition and a competition that everyone in Philippine football has worked hard to be a part of," Etheridge said.
"And unfortunately, the Asian Cup falls in January which is a frustration for players like myself when we're still in season. I don't believe this will be the final time that we reach the Asian Cup and in the future when situations change, I hope to be a part of it." 
Etheridge is one of several foreign-based players who have given Philippine football a fillip in the past few years.
The Philippine squad's average age is 28, and have a whopping 608 appearances between them for the national team. This makes them one of the most experienced outfits in the continental showpiece where they are placed in Group C, also comprising Korea Republic, China PR and Kyrgyz Republic.
British-born Siblings Phil and James Younghusband, the two top names in the squad, have been capped 105 and 100 matches, respectively.
They begin their campaign with a match against Korea Republic before taking on China on January 11 and Kyrgyz Republic on January 17.

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