Audley Boyd, Assistant Editor - Sport
Defenders do not come under pressure for not scoring goals. When they do, it provides a nice little bonus.
Xavian Virgo delivered such an incentive last Wednesday, when he netted the opening goal in Jamaica's 3-2 win over New Zealand, in their friendly international in Auckland.
Now, the diminutive Virgo is hoping that his first goal for Jamaica's senior team will provide the springboard to land himself a permanent spot among the Reggae Boyz.
"It's a great feeling," he said, referring to his landmark goal.
"I've been here working hard and trying to be a main member of the squad. I believe it is just paying off so I just have to keep my head up and focus on what I'm doing."
The Boys' Town player made his debut six years ago. But the fact that he has only 18 caps signals his much abbreviated forays into the national team.
"It's not like it's my first year with the team, I've been in the team since 2006, I've played a lot of international games, it's just that I need to be more consistent so that I can have a spot in the team," he admitted.
This goal could not have come at a better time, as head coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore is looking at players to strengthen his squad in preparation for World Cup qualifying, which begins with a June 8 home encounter against Guatemala.
The New Zealand encounter was one of three matches played by Jamaica in an eight-day period and Virgo featured in all, at the right full back position, where Whitmore also tested regular squaddie, central defender Richard Edwards. Others have played that position in matches prior, mainly the central defenders, a place where Virgo also serves his Premier League team.
The goal apart, Virgo believes his recent play has enhanced his cause.
"Part of becoming a main member of the team is you have to perform game in game out, and that's one of the main reasons why I've been playing like that," he noted, when queried about his attacking forays.
But he is quick to admit that "it's very tough, international football, at the highest level, it's very hard, but you just have to keep focused and go through it step by step".
He added: "As a player, you always want to market yourself and scoring goals is a plus. Scoring a goal just adds to the type of person I am, the things I can do and how creative I am.
"If you ain't giving the coach what he wants to see you ain't got a spot, so I've to be defending, scoring goals, it's all in the mix; you've to go out there and produce, give what you have, bring forth everything to the table and may the results show what you've done," the 26-year-old said.