Monday, February 19, 2018

Jamaica seeking to recruit nine England-based players


Jamaican football authorities may attempt to recruit as many as nine England-based players as the Reggae Boyz prepare for the final round of 2014 World Cup qualifying.

The highly-rated Jermaine Beckford and Jobi McAnuff are said to be heading the list of players to be approached by a three-man delegation visiting the United Kingdom later this week.

Reading midfielder and captain McAnuff and 29-year-old striker Beckford--formerly of Premier League outfit Everton and now at Huddersfield Town--are two of the more familiar names that have shown interest in representing Jamaica.

The others include Swansea City 24-year old winger Nathan Dyer, Reading defender Shaun Cummings and 25-year-old winger Gareth McCleary, Queen's Park Rangers' 22-year-old winger David Hoilett, Derby County's 23-year-old striker Theo Robinson, Newcastle right-back Danny Simpson, and his teammate, defender James Perch.

"If it's that the best players are local-based...and are here playing in the local Premier League, they will be on the field," said leader of the delegation and Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, captain Horace Burrell.

"If it is that we don't have any and our better players are abroad...I can tell you that for the final phase we will be pulling out all the stops," said Burrell, who leaves the island for the UK on a 12-day scouting mission tomorrow, and will be accompanied by head coach Theodore Whitmore and Brazilian assistant Alfredo Montesso.

The influential trio will watch five matches in the UK, meet nine new players with Jamaican roots, and hold meetings with players who have already been part of the national set-up, including striker Ricardo Fuller.

"One of the things we'll be doing when we go to the United Kingdom is sit with the clubs and players and have a fulsome discussion on all the issues and unite the family, because the best 11 is going to be on that field--no two ways about that," said Burrell.

"We have a player in David Hoilett who was in Jamaica and watched one of the games. We have another player who was so excited he even had his wife speak with me. That player is Jermaine Beckford."

Discussions will also be held with Jamaican-born teen prodigy Raheem Sterling, considered in some circles as the next England star.

"Based on the FIFA rules he is still eligible to play for Jamaica. We think that it's worthwhile to speak with the agents and so on," said Burrell.

"The player has to want to wear the Jamaican colours. We're not interested in any players who have no interest. That's not what this trip is about."

Jamaica are among six teams challenging for three automatic spots in the 2014 World Cup finals, when the CONCACAF finals are held next year.