Friday, January 19, 2018

Birchall considers T&T future

Chris Birchall could be ready to quit international football and concentrate solely on his career at Port Vale.

The 29-year-old midfielder missed a large part of the Valiants’ pre-season programme as he was on duty with Trinidad and Tobago in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

And, after their exit at the quarter-final stage, he says he’ll think “long and hard” about playing for the “Soca Warriors” again.

“I’ll have a good look at it and see if playing for Trinidad and Tobago is jeopardising my club football,” he said. “We are out of the World Cup qualifiers now, so for a couple of years there won’t be much to play for.

“I’ll speak to the gaffer (Micky Adams) and see what he wants me to do this season if and when I get call-ups. Playing for Vale is my bread and butter and what I get paid for, so I’ll have to see where I go from here.”

Birchall, whose mother was born in Port of Spain, has played 43 times since making his debut for the national team in 2005.

His goal against Bahrain in November of that year helped take the country to their first-ever World Cup finals, and he played in a 2-0 defeat by England in Germany, 2006.

He fell out of the favour in 2011 before earning a recall under new boss Hutson Charles earlier this year. Birchall was on the bench for all four of the Soca Warriors’ games in the Gold Cup, staged in the US, and only featured as a late sub in the 1-0 defeat to Mexico, which spelled their exit.

Yet he looks back fondly on his time with the national team, and has not yet ruled out more games.

“It’s been a great experience and I’ve had a fantastic time playing for them,” he said.”I’ve also reaped rewards as I got my international moves out of it—to LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew.

“I’m not turning my back on it just yet, but I’ll have a long, hard think about it.”