Grant’s omission shocking – Price
The omission of national midfielder Anthony Grant from Jamaica’s latest squad for the World Cup qualifiers has been described as shocking by Humble Lion head coach Andrew Price. Grant, 34, who has played in all but two qualifying games under...
The omission of national midfielder Anthony Grant from Jamaica’s latest squad for the World Cup qualifiers has been described as shocking by Humble Lion head coach Andrew Price.
Grant, 34, who has played in all but two qualifying games under former head coach Theodore Whitmore, was left off interim head coach Paul Hall’s 23-man squad announced on Sunday for Jamaica’s upcoming slate of World Cup qualifying matches beginning with Mexico on Thursday at the National Stadium.
Since being given his international debut by Whitmore on September 3 against Mexico, the Swindon Town midfielder has received positive reviews for his performances in the defensive midfielder role despite the disappointing results.
Grant’s omission caught Price by surprise but said that there are players that are capable of filling that void effectively, regardless.
“It was a shock. I don’t really think he really had a bad game throughout the entire series although the team wasn’t doing well. He was a stabilising force in the middle of the park. But the coach knows the reasons for his omission and I’m sure that he has selected players that can do an efficient job in his absence,” Price told The Gleaner.
Those players selected for Hall’s first three qualifiers as head coach include midfielder Kevin Stewart who plays for English Championship outfit Blackpool. He could make his international debut in this window. Preston North End’s midfielder Daniel Johnson has been recalled to the squad after being left out of the November window.
While in charge, Whitmore compared Grant’s play to former top Reggae Boyz, Stephen Malcolm and Peter Cargill, who formed the foundation of Jamaica’s 1998 World Cup qualifying team of which Hall was a part of.
Interim head coach Hall could not be reached yesterday for comment on Grant’s omission. However, the player has not been turning out regularly for his club since the start of the 2021-22 English season. In fact, he has played far more minutes for Jamaica. The last time he played for Swindon was November 30 last year in an English Football League Trophy match. Since then Grant has either been out of the squad or on the bench. He was last on the bench for a League Two match against Mansfield on January 11.
Price says that Jamaica will need to be more daring in the attack in upcoming matches while still having the continuity in the midfield to give themselves a chance to qualify.
“His physicality and his determination will be missed. But hopefully, Stewart can fill that role and people like Ravel Morrison can come to the fore with Daniel Johnson to assist the team in midfield. But definitely, it has to be a team that has to have an attack feature where we are trying to get goals because that’s the only way we are going to win games if we can get goals,” Price said. “I think most of the thrust will be on the offensive end of the field not just about stability in the middle of the park.”
Meanwhile, former national assistant coach Bradley Stewart says even with Grant’s absence, there is still an issue with the team’s continuity given the minimal chances to prepare and for their specific roles to be understood and executed.
“He has had a few good games but I don’t know that his performances are a result of superior coaching. I think this is a team that doesn’t get an opportunity to train together,” Stewart said.
“When the situation occurs for them to do those things, you have an expectation that a percentage of the time they are going to be able to do the correct things. I am not seeing that.”