Tue | May 30, 2023

Gold Cup audition

Hallgrimsson to use first home games as interview sessions

Published:Wednesday | March 8, 2023 | 1:16 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Reggae Boyz head coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson speaks to media ahead of a training session at the National Stadium in preparation for friendlies against Trinidad and Tobago yesterday.
Reggae Boyz head coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson speaks to media ahead of a training session at the National Stadium in preparation for friendlies against Trinidad and Tobago yesterday.

WITH AN eye towards this summer’s Gold Cup, national senior men’s head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson described his first national team selection of 2023 as an opportunity to see who will be a part of his first tournament team.

The 25-man squad for the two-game series against Trinidad and Tobago was released yesterday with the best of the Jamaica Premier League as well as promising young talent from home and abroad.

Among those getting their first senior call-ups include Phoenix Academy’s Dujuan Richards. The England-based contingent of young talent has the likes of Dexter Lembikisa and Tyler Roberts both based in England with the Wolverhampton Wanderers academy as well as Chelsea’s Omari Hutchinson.

The locally based squad had their first training session yesterday with the England-based players expected to arrive today.

Hallgrimsson indicated the importance of being able to assess as many players as possible given that the majority of FIFA windows from now until the 2026 World Cup will be high-pressure matches.

“First and foremost, we would like to see as many players get a chance to play and show themselves for our decision on how we select the Gold Cup squad. We would like to have as many players play and give them a chance to play before we select the squad. Almost all of the FIFA windows will be official matches, so it gives us very little time when it comes to doing tests on players. So it is good to be able to see at least the younger players. If they will play or not, I don’t know, but we would like to see them,” Hallgrimsson said.

Halgrimsson’s assessment of those who will be a part of his plans is not just limited to performances on the pitch, but also how they carry themselves as professionals, something that he has emphasised is just as important as performance.

“It is not all bout the 90 minutes the players play on the pitch. It is about how they behave in our squad. How do they do in a camp. How they do in our working environment. So on the pitch and off the pitch is equally important for us. So we would like to get to know the players both on and off the pitch.”

Only a few players 30 and over are in the squad which includes Ravel Morrison and veteran defender Adrian Mariappa, players that he feels will be important to provide that leadership to this group.

Hallgrimsson will make his home debut as head coach on Saturday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex before wrapping up the series in Kingston at the National Stadium on Tuesday.

With a Concacaf Nations League tilt against Mexico looming at the end of the month, he is hoping that the youth will not only take their chance on the field but also show during camp, the attitude and aptitude required to be a part of his long-term vision.

“It is their chance now to show both in these minutes that we play Trinidad but also in other sessions and team meetings and how they behave in a group. For them, it is just to show that they are listening to the tactical information that we are trying to implement. Also, the mental aspect of being a professional in this environment is good, it’s necessary,” Hallgrimsson said.

“And then to take their chances when they get it off the pitch. Most of us (coaches) will judge players by the minutes they get on the pitch, but for me, it is more than that.”


Full squad:

Asher Hutchinson (Arnett Gardens); Kemar Foster (Waterhouse); Jamali Waite (Pittsburgh Riverhounds); Oshane Staple (Harbour View); Sue-Lae McCalla Mount Pleasant); Adrian Mariappa (Unattached); Fitzroy Cummings (Vere United); Richard King (Cavalier); Jamoi Topey (Mount Pleasant); Ricardo Thomas (Dunbeholden); Dexter Lembikisa (Wolves); Dwayne Atkinson (Cavalier); Omari Hutchinson (Chelsea); Jahshaun Anglin (Harbour View); Alwayne Henry (Mount Pleasant); Dante Harvey (Tottenham Hotspur); Ravel Morrison (DC United); Delano McCoy-Splatt (Fulham); Demario Phillips (Mount Pleasant); Lamar Walker (Portmore United); Tyler Roberts (Wolves); Collin Anderson (Cavalier); Trivante Stewart (Mount Pleasant); Dujuan Richards (Phoenix Academy); Jourdain Fletcher (Neroca FC).