Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Darren Mattocks is eagerly awaiting a return to the national senior men's football team following his surprise omission for the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier (WCQ) against Mexico.
The Reggae Boyz next game in the hexagonal final stage will be played on March 22 at the National Stadium.
The up-and-coming striker said he was not upset that he was not selected for the game against Mexico and is already looking forward to the next WCQ.
"I am most definitely looking forward to representing Jamaica in the next World Cup Qualifier," Mattocks told The Gleaner in an interview yesterday after training with his Major League Soccer Canadian outfit, Vancouver Whitecaps.
The local football public had asked questions about the exclusion of Mattocks from the team that battled to a historic 0-0 scoreline against Mexico in Mexico City, earning its first point ever in an away WCQ at the high-altitude Azteca venue.
According to president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Captain Horace Burrell (in a story carried a week ago in The Gleaner), Mattocks was not selected due to "poor attitude".
However, the hard-working attacker steered clear of controversy by refusing to tackle the issue.
"I don't wish to get caught in that," Mattocks said.
Reflecting on the Mexico game, Mattocks praised the coaching staff for selecting a great squad.
"That result (0-0 draw against Mexico) just shows that the selection was great. Hats off to the coaching staff as we are heading in the right direction," he said.
Mattocks, a former Bridgeport High schoolboy and University of Akon standout, scored seven goals in his rookie season in the MLS. He is yet to score for the Reggae Boyz.
The 23-year-old, in his second MLS season, has exhibited good pre-season form, scoring four goals in three warm-up games.
"It is going a lot better than expected as I have scored four goals in three games without playing the full 90 minutes of any of those game," Mattocks pointed out.
"It's a first in a long time that I have felt so fit. I am also getting stronger by eating much better. I have also been putting in more work, pushing myself. The season is set to kick off next month and already I am about 90 per cent fit," he said.
Given this type of form, the striker's desire could be fulfilled, with Burrell saying "he (Mattocks) might be called up for the next game".
Jamaica will next be involved in WCQ action against Panama on Friday, March 22 at the National Stadium; then four days later against Costa Rica in the Central American country.