Keeping an open mind
Hallgrimsson will continue overseas recruitment of players
The overseas recruitment of players will continue under national senior men’s head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, with his goal of building talent that will reap rewards in the long term for Jamaican football. Hallgrimsson is preparing to make his home...
The overseas recruitment of players will continue under national senior men’s head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, with his goal of building talent that will reap rewards in the long term for Jamaican football.
Hallgrimsson is preparing to make his home coaching debut when the Reggae Boyz face Trinidad and Tobago tomorrow at Montego Sports Complex in St James at 6 p.m. Hallgrimsson’s first national squad of 2023 consists of five English-born players who are being looked at to make the permanent switch to the senior team.
Those five include Dexter Lembiksia and Tyler Roberts of Wolverhampton, Delano McKoy Splatt of Fulham, Dante Harvey of Tottenham Hotspur, and Chelsea’s Omari Hutchinson. This will be Hutchinson’s second senior camp with the team, having played in last May’s friendly against Morocco, a game that was played outside of the FIFA window.
With reports that some English-based players with Jamaican heritage are looking to make the switch to be eligible to play for Jamaica in the future, Hallgrimsson is looking to target players that want to be part of the long-term vision for the programme even if he is not here to see it unfold beyond his stint.
“I hope that this is something that I will continue, to continue being open-minded about players. I hope we will attract the interest of good players who want to play for Jamaica. And I know that most of these players, the young players, will not help me in the short term, but they will help Jamaica in the future, and that is how we should think,” Hallgrimsson said. “Because the future will come whether they will be ready or not. I will not get the credit but probably the next coach will benefit from this. This is how it should be, and hopefully, we can change that thought process to think further ahead, not only what is good for me today.”
The English-based players arrived on Wednesday to join the local-based contingent, which started training on Tuesday.
For this squad, which is being used to evaluate players that could be part of the Gold Cup team in the summer, Hallgrimsson said that the English-based players were selected based on past performances and on recommendation.
“Dante (Harvey) is coming from an injury, so he hasn’t played for a while, and he was taken here for us to see him in training. So I don’t expect to play him because he is coming from an injury. So it is two or three players I haven’t seen much, the same with Hutchinson,” Hallgrimsson noted. “I haven’t seen him much only in the matches he has played for Chelsea. It is more or less what I have heard and what has been recommended and what my kind of basic knowledge of football tells me to do.”
Hallgrimsson is hoping that the youngsters take their opportunity not only on the field but in how they conduct themselves throughout the camp as he is taking a holistic approach as he seeks to build the right culture for the squad. While hoping that they will be dynamic in attack in their two-game series against Trinidad, Hallgrimsson is looking to be organised and structured throughout.
“If we need to play attacking football to win the game, we will do that. If we play Argentina and we know we need to defend, we will do that. We will, hopefully, be a well-drilled compact unit when we don’t have the ball. Whether that means dropping back or pressing high, it depends on the opponent,” Hallgrimsson said. “When we have the ball, I hope that we can be free-flowing and using the strength of Jamaica, which is speed and flair.”