New Reggae Boyz Given A Shot To Impress Against The US
Theodore Whitmore has brought in eight new players as part of the 18-strong squad, for what appears to be a testing behind closed doors exhibition match for Jamaica against the USA in Austria on 25 March.
Armed with a heavily defensive squad, which comprises nine defenders, the Jamaica head coach has been caught in a crossfire with regular players making a united stance against the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) over appearance fees.
The majority of the national squad’s familiar faces have refused to sign contracts with the JFF, and long been locked in tense negotiations. As a result the JFF announced last month that they had widened the net to try to attract potential new players, with the focus firmed fixed on those plying their trade in England.
This latest squad includes eight newcomers, two players who compete in the the island’s top flight of the Jamaican Red Stripe Premier League and six English-born and based players.
They will all be aiming to impress against the United States in the hastily-arranged match at the purpose-built Stadion Wiener Neustadt, home to the club SC Wiener Neustadt, just outside Vienna next week.
Yet the JFF will be keen to resolve matters before the Boyz tackle the all-important CONCACAF Gold Cup in July before the biggest test of crucial FIFA World Cup qualifiers in late August and early September.
NEW REGGAE BOYZ IN SQUAD
Amari’i Bell (Blackburn Rovers) | The 26-year-old left back, who made one appearance for Birmingham City with endless loans, was born in Burton.
He played over a century of games for Fleetwood Town before making a £300,000 (US$420,000) move to Blackburn Rovers. He turned down an invitation to represent the Boyz at the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Wesley Harding (Rotherham United) | The 24-year-old versatile defender, happy at either centre back or right back, was born in Leicester.
Five seasons and 51 appearances for Birmingham City concluded last year when he signed an undisclosed three-year deal with Rotherham United, where he is an ever present figure.
Jabari Hylton (UWI) | The 22-year-old forward tried his luck in England at the Youth Academies with Oxford United (2007-2012), Swindon Town (2012-2015) and West Ham United (where he was their topscorer in 2017).
Called up to the Jamaica U17 set up as a 16-year-old, he is currently studying for his Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship (2019-2022) at the University of West Indies at the Mona Campus in Kingston.
Liam Moore (Reading) | The 28-year-old centre back, who has represented England at U17, U20 and U21 level, was born in Loughborough.
Five seasons at Leicester City, making 59 appearances, ended when he made his £1.5m (US$2.1m) move to Reading in 2016.
Curtis Tilt (Rotherham United, on loan at Wigan Athletic) | The 29-year-old giant of a defender, who luck would have only made it in the sport after being spotted in tournament despite having largely stopped playing, was born in Walsall.
He was a journeyman in the non-league scene from 2012 until five years later when Blackpool swooped for him. After three successful seasons he signed for Rotherham United last year, but has surprisingly made just one appearance for the club and remains on loan with Wigan Athletic for a second spell.
Ethan Pinnock (Brentford) | The 27-year-old defender, who five years ago won a single cap for the England C national team (which comprises only non-league players), was born in London.
He spent seven years on the non-league scene before a £500,000 (US$700,000) three-year deal with Barnsley in 2017, where he went on to claim an accolade after being named in the English Football League’s League One Team of the Year.
Brentford came calling, so in July 2019 he penned a three-year £3m (US$2.1m) contract with the Championship high-fliers.
Renaldo Wellington (Montego Bay United) | The Jamaica-born 31-year-old defender was called into the 20-strong squad, which only comprised players from across the Caribbean island, for the low-key friendly against minnows Bermuda last March. However, the game at his home ground of Montego Bay Sports Complex was cancelled following the outbreak of COVID-19.
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