Bell thankful after finally achieving Premier League dream
NATIONAL DEFENDER Amari’i Bell says he is treasuring his promotion to the English top flight, especially because his career is at a stage where chances were becoming few and far between.
Bell helped Luton Town defeat Coventry 6-5 on penalties on May 27 in the English Football League Championship playoff to complete their ascent to the Premier League after years in the fifth tier of English football.
For Bell, after the disappointment experienced last season in the championship playoffs as well as his own football mortality, the 29-year-old is relishing the opportunity that he has longed for.
“Promotion means a lot. Because the older you get, you kind of see your dreams and hopes of playing in the top flight get pushed away,” Bell told The Sunday Gleaner.
“So for it to finally come at the age that I am now, it is amazing. And I felt like after last season, we didn’t want to feel the same way that we did.”
In dealing with the atmosphere of playing in a playoff final at Wembley, Bell said that he drew from his experience playing for Jamaica at the Azteca in their Concacaf Nations League game in March to adapt and thrive.
“When we played at Azteca, playing in front of so many fans it kind of helped Wembley to not seem as daunting. It was positive in that sense to stay calm and composed,” Bell said.
While he is still soaking up the adulation of what promotion means to him and for Luton Town, Bell’s focus switches to the Gold Cup which begins later this month, having been named to the provisional roster.
With the team going through their own rebuild under head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, Bell hopes that he can play a key role in that campaign to take Jamaica further.
“The dynamic of the team has changed with the coaching staff. But it is going to be good and, of course, I want to play an integral part of the team,” Bell said.
But the allure to join national teammates Leon Bailey, Michail Antonio, Bobby Reid as Premier League players is something that he is looking forward to.
“I’m very excited because you grow up wanting to play in the premiership. You grow up wanting to play in that league. So now that it has finally come and being able to test myself against the best teams in the world, it is going to be amazing. But I am not going to stand still. I’m going there to compete,” Bell said.