Shelton dropped - Reggae Boyz leading all-time scorer axed from crucial World Cup matches
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica's all-time leading goalscorer Luton Shelton was dropped for the crucial upcoming CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying (WCQ) games against Mexico and the USA here next month.
Shelton, who has scored 35 goals in 73 appearances wearing the national colours, was not named in a 26-man squad for a training camp in The Bahamas and practice game against English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. The training camp was cut short following the cancellation of the friendly game against The Bahamas.
The team returned home on Sunday night and held a training session with only nine players at the Jamaica Football Federation Training Centre at the University of the West Indies, Mona, yesterday.
"Luton Shelton was a decision by the coach to drop him," Alfredo Montesso, Jamaica men's senior team assistant coach, said while addressing the media at training.
Head coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore was not at the training session.
"We have four strikers in the team, and that is enough," Montesso added. "We have Ryan Johnson, Darren Mattocks, Theo Robinson and Jermaine Beckford."
Jamaica will tackle CONCACAF giants Mexico in the first of three crucial encounters in the Hexagonal - the final stage of CONCACAF WCQ - at the National Stadium on June 4, then challenge the United States of America (USA) on June 7. They will then travel to Honduras for a game in that country on June 11.
"It is very important that we win those three games and get nine points. We will go for a win against Mexico, as we did very well against them in the first game at the Azteca Stadium in February. We expect nothing but a win here," Montesso boldly declared.
Some of the overseas players who were in The Bahamas returned to their clubs for various reasons. They are expected back soon, starting tomorrow, with the full squad expected to be available by May 31.
However, long-time Reggae Boyz defenders Jermaine Taylor and Demar Phillips will also miss the encounters because of injuries. Taylor had a dislocated shoulder and was not named in the original squad, while Phillips pulled a hamstring. Winger Dane Richards was also ruled out because of injury.
Meanwhile, Germany-born Daniel Gordon, who plays in central defence and midfield, is expected to make his debut in the match next Tuesday.
The full squad is: Alvas Powell, Xavian Virgo, Jermaine Hue, Richard McCallum, O'Brian Woodbine, Damion Williams, Montrose Phinn, Jermie Lynch, Evan Taylor, Jermaine Johnson, Keammar Daley, André Blake, Daniel Gordon, Darren Mattocks, Rodolph Austin, Joel 'Jobi' McAnuff, Adrian Mariappa, Garath McLeary, Donovan Ricketts, Dwayne Miller, Theo Robinson, Marvin Elliott, Ryan Johnson and Jermaine Beckford.