Tue | Dec 10, 2019

New English-based faces for Reggae Boyz

Published:Friday | August 30, 2019 | 12:36 AMKavarly Arnold/Gleaner Writer
Former national captain Wes Morgan (left) slides in on Mexico’s Hirving Lozano during their Copa América Centenario Group C game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Thursday, June 9, 2016.
Former national captain Wes Morgan (left) slides in on Mexico’s Hirving Lozano during their Copa América Centenario Group C game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Thursday, June 9, 2016.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts says that Jamaica’s squad selection for next week’s Concacaf Nations League game against Antigua and Barbuda will come from a pool of approximately 50 players. He said that of this 50, the public could expect a number of English-based players as well as fresh faces.

“Bobby Reid (of Cardiff City) has got his Jamaican passport, so he is available,” Ricketts said at a media briefing in Montego Bay on Tuesday. “We are scouting a youngster, Che Dunkley (of Wigan Athletic), but he has not yet got his passport. He is a tall central defender. Ravel Morrison (of Sheffield United), who has acquired his Jamaican passport, I understand is still struggling with injuries and not at 100 per cent. Of course, we are waiting for two or three other English-based players, however, the coach is adamant that he doesn’t want to just arbitrarily, on a wholesale basis, just invite players. He wants players in selected positions where he thinks there are weaknesses. And, of course, he thinks that his defensive unit needs strengthening.”

The best eleven

Ricketts, who highlighted the importance of the game that he believes could impact World Cup qualifiers, said the reason for such a large pool of players is to ensure the best possible 11 to step on to the field next Friday.

“Unfortunately, we are in Pool B of the Nation’s League, which means that when we beat teams in this pool, it does not count much. On the other hand, if teams in A, like Curaçao or Guyana, were to beat up USA or Mexico, they could leapfrog us. So it is important that we continue to do well to maintain our position in the top six,” he added.

The president has also clarified statements he made regarding former national captain Wes Morgan. This is after it was reported that the veteran central defender, who captained Leicester City to the Premier League title in England in 2016, is no longer being considered for selection.

“I saw the article, however, I was not really comfortable with how it was crafted,” Ricketts said.

“We still think that Wes has the quality, but it’s certainly a decision between Wes and the coach. From a layman’s standpoint, one would want to argue that at age 35, and not in the best physical condition, you’re not sure what he (Wes) would want to do.”

The Reggae Boyz meet Antigua and Barbuda at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on September 6 at 7 p.m.