Six Of The Best With Jamaican Roots In Mix For International Call-Up
JFF’s goal in England is to bolster Reggae Boyz squad
Rolando Aarons, the Kingston-born winger who plies his trade for Championship side Sheffield Wednesday is one of six players with Jamaican heritage that would be an asset to the national team and are likely to be singled out this week by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).
With the JFF having sent president Michael Ricketts and head coach Theodore Whitmore briefly to England since 24 April, the goal is to talk to those eligible to represent the Boyz with Aarons the stand-out figure.
He is on loan from Premier League club Newcastle United and five years ago made his England U20 international debut, scoring the opening goal in the 6-0 rout over Romania.
The JFF have previously expressed interest in the 23-year-old, who is eligible to pursue an international future with either England or Jamaica, but were rejected.
Fellow winger Nathan Dyer, approached by the JFF to play for Jamaica during their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, is another potential target. And like Aarons is a Championship favourite, where he is a big hit at Welsh outfit Swansea City.
But goals are what Jamaica urgently require and resilience striker Dwight Gayle, on loan from Newcastle with Championship high-fliers West Bromwich Albion, could be drafted into the Boyz squad for this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup. The 29-year-old has worked hard to rise from non-league before establishing himself in the Premier League with Crystal Palace for four seasons and has been regularly hitting the back of the net with aplomb with WBA.
Kyle Bartley, Gayle’s team-mate at WBA, is a Manchester-born central defender who kicked off his career with Arsenal and made his debut in 2009. He could bolster the Boyz’ back four for the Gold Cup and will have an understanding with Gayle if both selected for international duty.
Reading’s defensive duo of Tyler Blackett and Liam Moore are no doubt on JFF’s radar, especially as the pair have a wealth of experience playing together.
Moore, happy in either a centre-back or right-back role, signed from Premier League champions Leicester City where he played 59 matches in six seasons and shows immense promise having already won 10 England U21 caps.
Blackett, who made one U21 England appearance five years ago, plays as a left-back or centre-back and kicked off his career in his home town at the Manchester United Youth Academy in 2002. He is qualified to play on the international stage for either Barbados, England or Jamaica.
There are a plethora of players with Jamaican roots based in England, but many have been tempted by being called up for an international game by the English FA. Some have gone on to set the international stage alight but many have just been handed just a single cap and are soon forgotten men by the Three Lions.
This is the reason why the JFF have made such a concerted effort to visit England for a whistlestop tour and speak face-to-face about the long-term future for potential players with the Boyz.
The Boyz mean business, especially with the rich rewards for reaching the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals, but have realised that they must bolster their squad if they want to be a force to be reckoned with once more.
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