New Boyz coming
Nodley Wright, Sunday Gleaner Writer
The Reggae Boyz could be taken more seriously in a very short while with the possibility of three high-profile England-based additions to the unit.
Blackburn Rovers livewire David "Junior" Hoilett, Leicester City's hitman Jermaine Beckford, and Bolton Wanderers' midfield steel Darren Pratley could soon be available to coach Theodore Whitmore for selection. That the players could soon be taking instructions from Whitmore was confirmed by Jamaica Football Federation president, Captain Horace Burrell, yesterday.
"Right now, I am in touch with his father. We spoke at length and we are hoping that plans will work out," Burrell said of Hoilett.
"His father hails from Ocho Rios, speaks with a strong Jamaican accent and is a proud Jamaican. In fact, he was overwhelmed when we called him. What I can say is that we have the seal of approval from his father who promised to have a father/son discussion with him and guide him in the right way."
Offer to represent Canada
The 21-year-old lightning-quick winger, who was the subject of a number of speculations linking him to more highly placed clubs than Blackburn for figures ranging from £8m-£15, was reported to have turned down an offer to represent Canada on the instructions of his father, who serves as his adviser. The reported reason was that his father felt that Jamaica would have been a better fit for the Canada-born star.
Beckford a 6' 2" goalscorer, who stood out for Leeds before earning a dream premiership move to Everton in 2010, transferred to Championship team Leicester City at the end of season for £2.5m after a reasonable season and has been a hit since. Just yesterday he struck a double for Leicester, who recorded a 2-0 win over Swindon Town in the FA Cup. It was Beckford's 14th goal in 14 FA Cup matches.
"Myself and general secretary Horace Reid attended a game in Leicester City and had a lengthy chat with Jermaine (Beckford) after the game. He is extremely interested and our internal staff is extremely busy in proceeding with the necessary paperwork," Burrell said of the 28-year-old, who started out as a Chelsea trainee, indicating that only a passport stands between the player and an official Jamaica cap.
Like Beckford, Pratley was also watched by Reid and Burrell during a recent visit to the United Kingdom.
"We attended a Bolton game and we had an interview with Pratley. He is excited about the prospects of representing Jamaica and, as with Beckford, the internal staff is working on the necessary paperwork," Burrell said of the six-footer.
Pratley, a former mainstay at Queens Park Rangers before transferring to Bolton Wanderers in July 2011, first came on the Jamaica radar in January 2009, when he was invited by then coach John Barnes for a friendly international against Nigeria on February 11 of that year. The midfielder, who qualifies to represent Jamaica through his grandparents, pulled out of the friendly after suffering a broken shoulder shortly before the game.