Mon | Jun 18, 2018

JFF won't rule out Smith call-up

Published:Friday | December 22, 2017 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment
Bristol City’s Korey Smith celebrates scoring his side’s second goal of the game with fans after the final whistle in the English League Cup quarter-final match between Bristol City and Manchester United at Ashton Gate, Bristol, England on Wednesday. Bristol City defeated Manchester United 2-1.
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Jamaica senior men's team manager, Roy Simpson, says Bristol City defensive midfielder Korey Smith was scouted for national selection in the past but was not offered any invitation.

Smith, who scored the winner in Bristol City's 2-1 win over Manchester United in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, is said to have Jamaican ancestry. However, he has never featured for any nation at the international level. But Simpson said that the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) had known of the 26-year-old for some time, but was unsure of whether he deserved a call-up.

"We are aware of him because he came up in our radar when we were looking at the prospects from out of the United Kingdom," Simpson said. "We know he has Jamaican connections, but to make a final decision on his participation with the team, none of the coaches, including the present coaches, indicated any interest in having him come."

Meanwhile, JFF president Michael Ricketts said that not being born in Jamaica does not close the door on the chance of any player representing the country should he continue showing good form.

When asked if it is possible that Smith could represent Jamaica someday, Ricketts said, "Of course!

Once you are eligible to hold a Jamaican passport, and you are good enough, then you will get an opportunity."

 

CHANGED SELECTION PATTERN

 

Since Theodore Whitmore took over the national team in October 2016, there had been a shift in selection pattern of the team from that of the previous coach Winfried Sch‰fer. The German had used players born both locally and overseas, especially in Britain, but Whitmore had preferred a squad made up entirely of Jamaican-born footballers.

However, Ricketts said that this is not a strict policy of the JFF as any player has a chance of selection as long as he can add quality to the team.

"We are not saying that our players have to be exclusively local-based," Ricketts said. "We want the best team, but what we don't want is an influx of overseas players that are not better than local players. But we want the best 11 on the field at all times. This would not totally exclude English-based players."

Smith, who was born in Hatfield, England, wears the number 7 shirt for Bristol, which he has also occasionally captained. He has made 25 appearances for The Robins so far this season and scored three goals while assisting one. Bristol City are third in the English League Championship.

 

Korey Smith

 

Place of Birth: Hatfield, England

Date of Birth: January 31, 1991 (26 years old)

Height: 6 feet

Positions: Defensive midfield, central midfield, right back

Clubs: Norwich 2008-2013, Barnsley 2012 (loan), Yeovil Town 2012 (loan), Oldham Athletic 2013 (loan), Oldham Athletic 2013-2014, Bristol City 2014-present