"Our forwards need to be more dangerous," says former Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) technical director Lincoln Phillips. "Kenwyne Jones needs to be more dangerous for us. He needs to step up his game."
Based in the United States for the past two years since being relieved of the technical director post, Phillips was among the 4,000 fans who turned up at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, last Wednesday, where Trinidad and Tobago opened 2013 with a 2-0 defeat to Peru in a friendly international.
A former USA national team goalkeeping coach and head coach at Howard University for 10 years, Phillips is now based at Loyola University where he works part-time as a goalkeeping coach with his son, Derek.
Phillips believes that at age 28, it is time that Stoke City striker Jones starts living up to his potential and delivering winning performances for the national team. Jones did not have the best of matches against Peru. He had one glaring missed chance. Phillips said he expects more effort from Jones, especially with the CONCACAF Gold Cup coming up in July.
Overall, though, there was some satisfaction for Phillips from the T&T performance against Peru.
"I would not be satisfied with the result. What I am happy about is to know where we are, and from that standpoint the match against Peru was a success. I think we have the ingredients to compete and do well for ourselves at the Gold Cup. What these guys needed was a game, and the TTFF is trying to get a game for them every FIFA date, and a powerful opponent as well.
"I think it was great that we did so well at the Caribbean Cup because it was important for our football that we qualified for the Gold Cup. I am confident that our whole approach (to preparing for the Gold Cup ) is good. I have to congratulate Hutson Charles. He must be commended for calling a team and beginning the development process at a time of so much uncertainty when the federation had no money. With that, he has brought an Army discipline to the national team, and the players have developed a fighting attitude. The team has no superstars, and I think the local players will compete favourably against the foreign-based."
Phillips said T&T's strength is in defence.
"I think the defence is quite good. We have potential, a lot of good, young, fast defenders. The goalkeeping is okay as well.
"I think the midfielders," Phillips continued, "need to be more creative. They also need, as a group, to become ball winners in the midfield rather than just the defence. And the midfielders need to be goal-scorers as well from deep positions, and also be willing to overlap the forwards and score as well. If we get the forwards to sharpen up, and have a couple of elusive halfbacks, it will turn the team inside out."