Whitmore has chance to experiment with his Reggae Boyz
Bobby Reid is one of four changes in Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz squad to tackle the imminent back-to-back CONCACAF Nations League.
The Bristol-born striker, who has scored once in his two international appearances this year, has a perfect chance to add to his tally when the Boyz face minnows Antigua & Barbuda (15 Nov) and Guyana (18 Nov).
Jamaica head coach Theodore Whitmore has not called up the Kingston-born duo of potential newcomer Rolando Aarons nor rising star Leon Bailey for the seemingly straightforward ties.
Winger Aarons, who last represented England four years ago at U20 level, is on loan at English League One outfit Wycombe Wanderers from Premiership side Newcastle. However, the 23-year-old does not have an up-to-date Jamaica passport.
Midfield maestro Bailey marked his return to club action with Bayer Leverkusen, following a month on the sidelines because of a hamstring injury, with a straight red card. The 22-year-old was sent off deep into injury time on 2 November for kicking out at Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Patrick Herrmann.
Yet the pair are expected to play a large part in Whitmore’s plans when the Boyz face the FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers, which kick off next August. But the Nations League, with two group games remaining, are priority for Jamaica.
Also missing from the latest squad are Turkish-based forward Dever Orgill as well as Junior Flemmings, Kemar Lawrence and Devon Williams – the trio all ply their trade in North America.
In their place is New Mexico United’s Kevaughn Frater and three players on loan from their respective parent clubs.
Portmore United’s Ricardo Morris’ loan with Finland outfit Vaasan Palloseura ends this month, Cardiff City’s Reid is at rivals Fulham while Los Angeles FC’s Peter-Lee Vassell plays at Phoenix Rising FC.
The 10,000-capacity Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound hosts the Group C game on Friday when Antigua & Barbuda face table-topping Jamaica. It was one-way traffic when the teams met at Montego Bay in September, Reid scoring in the 6-0 success.
Three days later Montego Bay Sports Complex will see the Boyz tackle Guyana, when they are expected to pick up maximum points in style, having raced to a 4-0 victory against the same opponents in September.
With Jamaica having hit a rich vein of form in terms of results, and yet to concede a goal in the Nations League, these two matches are the ideal opportunity for Whitmore to experiment with his squad.
It appears unlikely that he will rotate his troops, but it is even more surprising that Jamaica did not opt for more new faces for Whitmore to run his eye over. This can only mean that the head coach believes he has a settled squad.
With the Boyz’ recent matches lacking much innovation on the pitch an injection of new talent appears to be overdo, although Whitmore has refrained from adding a sprinkling of magic that the fans – and indeed critics – are clamouring for.
JAMAICA: Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union, USA), Brian Brown (FK Partizani Tirana, Albania), Akeem Chambers (Waterhouse FC, Jamaica), Jevon East, Maalique Foster (both Santos de Guápiles, Costa Rica), Shaun Francis (Louisville City FC, USA), Kevaughn Frater (New Mexico Utd, USA), Kevaughn Isaacs (Mount Pleasant FC, Jamaica), Amal Knight, Fabion McCarthy (both UWI FC, Jamaica), Andre Lewis, Ricardo Morris, Lemar Walker (all Portmore United, Jamaica), Damion Lowe (IK Start, Norway), Adrian Mariappa (Watford, England), Alex Marshall (Cavalier FC, Jamaica), Shamar Nicholson (Royal Charleroi Sporting Club, Belgium), Alvas Powell (FC Cincinnati, USA), Bobby Reid (Cardiff City), Ajeanie Talbott (Harbour View, Jamaica), Peter-Lee Vassell (Los Angeles FC), JeVaughn Watson (OKC Energy FC, USA), Chavany Willis (Bethlehem Steele, Jamaica)
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