Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Jones, Edwards happy to be back

Trinidad and Tobago's Stoke City forward Kenwyne Jones and Ipswich Town midfielder Carlos Edwards joined the national team for a training session at the Ato Boldon Stadium yesterday ahead of tomorrow's friendly international against Peru in Couva.

The England-based duo had their first run out with the national team since November, 2011 and seemed eager to get reacquainted with some of their previous national teammates on the football pitch under blistering sunshine.

"It's great to be back. It's an extreme change coming from the cold into this heat but we are both from Trinidad so it's nothing new," Edwards told TTFF Media following the training session. "We're here for a massive friendly on Wednesday so hot sun or rain we'll be ready. Peru is respected team and I think the TTFF and the organisers did very well to get them to come and play us in a friendly at home. It's been a while since we had such a good friendly like this one."

Jones, the subject of transfer talks at Stoke City, has put the English Premier League to the back of his mind at least for the next couple of days and is focusing on trying to put on a good show for the country.

"It's always a privilege coming back into the national team. I was called back a couple times but it was outside the FIFA date but I'm happy to be back and happy to be with the squad again," Jones said

The former W Connection player said he had followed the team's exploits during the Caribbean Cup Finals and was delighted to see the progress through to the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Looking ahead to meeting Peru against whom Jones scored against when the teams met in a 2006 World Cup warm-up at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, he said he was eager to get the South American test.

"It's going to test the squad's level of experience and knowledge of football. Peru are languishing at the bottom of the South American table but they will still be a very good test for us. They have some well-known international players and of course they are a good footballing team. The last time we had the World Cup squad and now we have a changing of the guards. We have more of the players from the Caribbean Cup squad along with some of the overseas players so hopefully we can gel well in time and give a good account on Wednesday. I'm really looking forward to the contest," Jones added.

Densill Theobald, captain for the team in tomorrow's game said the current squad was quietly confident of a good showing against Peru.

"It's always a plus to have the overseas players like Kenwyne and Carlos coming into the squad and hopefully we can use their additional experience and value and get the team up to a certain level. It will not happen overnight but we need testers like this game on Wednesday to try things out and build that chemistry. The aim is to get it right by the time the Gold Cup comes around in July," Theobald said.

Meantime, some of Peru's overseas-based players arrived in Trinidad yesterday morning with the rest of the team scheduled to arrive later ahead of light work out at UWI Grounds, St Augustine.

Both teams will train this evening at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.