Tue | Sep 29, 2020

‘Real and serious interest’ - JFF hunting EPL hotshot Greenwood and Arsenal’s Maitland-Niles

Published:Wednesday | August 12, 2020 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Wint
Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood (foreground) controls the ball during the Europa League quarter-final match against Copenhagen at the Rhein Energie Stadium in Cologne, Germany, on Monday, August 10.
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General Secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Dalton Wint, said his organisation is looking to court Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood and Arsenal winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles to the Reggae Boyz set-up for the upcoming World Cup-qualifying campaign.

Greenwood, 18, and Maitland-Niles, 22, who have both represented the England team at the junior level, are qualified to play for Jamaica because they were born to Jamaican parents.

England’s manager, Gareth Southgate, will reportedly speak with four players born to Jamaican parents regarding their international futures, including Greenwood and Maitland-Niles, later this week.

Wint told The Gleaner that the addition of these youngsters to the Reggae Boyz set-up would be a massive boost for the development of the country’s football, noting that they are two of the best young players in the world.

POSITIVE REPRESENTATION

“We are always interested in people who can represent, and represent positively, the national team because we have always been in support of that,” said Wint.

“It is always good to link with world-class players, as it shows that there is great interest in the programme. If you have people of this calibre and this quality, that shows interest and it augers well for the quality that we have presently,” he added. “They are brand-name players ... I have watched them play and they are outstanding players, and I know if they still show interest, then the coach will have a look at them.”

Wint shared that the federation currently has an agent in Europe who has been working on their behalf to secure the services of English players that qualify to represent Jamaica.

“We do have an international agent in Europe that sweeps the floor clean for us all the time, and if there is interest in these players, I know that he will spare no punches in trying to get these players to have a sit-down with the management of the JFF,” Wint underlined.

“It would be massive for us to have these players here and I know that the interest is not superficial ... it is something that is real and it is serious,” he said.

Greenwood recently won the Premier League Young Player of the Season award after his incredible performances in the competition this year. He scored 18 goals for the club in 46 appearances across all competitions.

Maitland-Niles, who has been with Arsenal since the age of six, has been in and out of the Gunners’ first team this season.

Meanwhile, the JFF recently invited Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips to be a part of the Boyz’s 2022 FIFA World Cup-qualifying campaign.

Phillips, whose father was born in Jamaica, recently helped secure a return for Leeds to English Premier League.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com