Unravelling? - Morrison's Reggae Boyz future in doubt after unanswered Suriname invitation
Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore said that he is disappointed in the unavailability of Ravel Morrison, noting that he was looking forward to the former English youth player being part of the squad, which is preparing for the upcoming CONCACAF Nations League match against Suriname.
Whitmore was speaking at the press launch at the Montego Bay Sports Complex yesterday ahead of the contest, which is set for the same venue on Saturday starting at 7:00 p.m.
"With Ravel Morrison, we have written to his club and haven't gotten a response, so we just have to move on," said Whitmore.
"We were definitely trying to get him in for the Suriname game, but as I said, unfortunately, that situation arose and we just have to move past that and be positive going forward," he added.
Morrison, 25, earned a reputation as one of England's most promising youngsters after rising through the ranks at the Manchester United Academy. He signed to West Ham before playing on loan at several clubs, eventually transferring to Italian outfit Lazio. He most recently featured on loan from Lazio in the Mexican top flight with Atlas, with rumours suggesting that the Italians are looking to terminate the midfielder's contract.
Nevertheless, Whitmore underlined that the door is not closed on the former Manchester United and West Ham midfielder or any other player who has an interest in representing the national team, including the controversial Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey, who has been at the centre of a dispute between the Jamaica Football Federation and his agent and father, Craig Butler.
"We need all players once the players are committed ... it's not just about talent. Once they are committed and want to play for the national team, then that would be a plus for both me and the technical staff," said Whitmore.
"The players have to want to come to play for the national team and wear the national colours with pride. That's the sort of players we have been looking for, not only talent. So no, the door is not shut on any player who wants to play for us," said Whitmore.
Whitmore, speaking specifically in regards to Bailey, pointed out that the player's commitment is key moving forward but was quick to point out that his focus is on getting the full complement of players to meet their potential and achieve success.
"(Leon) Bailey is another situation where the door is not closed. We sent out a press release a few weeks ago about the selection policy, and once Bailey meets the criteria (we can move forward). As I mentioned before, what we want is committed players," said Whitmore.
"It's a team game, and whether Bailey is here or not, it has to go on. If Bailey was here, it would not be him alone or even with Butler (Kyle). The two of them alone can't play, we have to think about the team. We are all one, working for one goal, so until Bailey realises that, then we can't move forward," he added.