Reggae Boyz Remain In A Brit Of Bother With New Faces

Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

Jamal Lowe and Kasey Palmer, both British-based and former England players, could make their respective international debuts for Jamaica after being added to the Reggae Boyz’ depleted squad that tackles the United States in an exhibition match in Austria on Thursday (25 March).

Yet Swansea City striker Lowe is suffering a goal drought with the Championship highfliers, as he last scored for the Welsh club in the mid-January 2-0 success at Barnsley – when television replays showed that the 26-year-old seemed to have been in an offside position.

Bristol City midfielder Palmer also plies his trade in the English second tier. He is a team-mate at the club with Jamaican stalwart Adrian Mariappa, and played alongside Lowe this season while on loan with Swansea City.

The addition of this pair means that head coach Theodore Whitmore now boasts eight British-based players in his 20-strong squad. At least he will now have more of a choice in midfield and upfront with four a-piece in these positions for the match at the purpose-built Stadion Wiener Neustadt, home to the club SC Wiener Neustadt, just outside Vienna.

  

Lowe was plying his trade as a semi-pro just four seasons ago, when he was turning out for Hampton & Richmond Borough for two terms. He received a single call-up for the England C national team, which comprises only non-league players, in 2016.

He kicked off his career with Barnet in 2012 and, following three campaigns, moved across London to represent Hampton & Richmond Borough before Portsmouth signed him in 2017.

The six-footer joined Wigan Athletic for the 2019-20 season, but scored just six goals in his 46 appearances and signed a £800,000 (US$1.1m) three-year deal with ambitious Swansea City. Lowe made an instant impact with seven strikes in his opening seven games, but has scored just twice since and is struggling in front of goal.

Lowe, who used to play as a winger as well as a forward, appears to still be adjusting to his new role as an out-and-out striker at club level.

Former Chelsea player Palmer was approached on 12 March by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), but as the 24-year-old recently became a father he initially turned down the invitation to face the United States.

However, the JFF helped him to apply for a Jamaica passport by dangling the goal of potentially being part of Whitmore’s squad for July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup and Jamaica’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers, which kick off on 30 August against Mexico.

Palmer has cemented his place in the Bristol City team since last month’s appointment of head coach Nigel Pearson, who has seen the talent shine through that earned him England call-ups atU17, U18, U20 and U21 levels.

  

He failed to make an appearance during his three seasons with Chelsea, where he was loaned out to a string of Championship clubs, before he penned a four-year £3.5m (US$4.8m) deal with Bristol City in 2019.

Limitation damage for the Boyz will no doubt be the remit to Whitmore, who will surely be hoping that the current stand-off over monies between his usual array of star players and the JFF is resolved in time for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Kasey Palmer (left) and Jamal Lowe

JAMAICA SQUAD 

Goalkeepers | Jeadine White (Cavalier SC), Kemar Foster (Portmore United), Shaven Paul (Mount Pleasant)

Defenders | Michael Hector (Fulham), Amari’i Bell (Blackburn Rovers), Wesley Harding (Rotherham United), Omar Holness (Darlington), Adrian Mariappa (Bristol City), Liam Moore (Reading), Ethan Pinnock (Brentford), Curtis Tilt (Wigan Athletic), Renaldo Wellington (Montego Bay United)

Midfielders | Kevaughn Isaacs (Mount Pleasant), John Luca Levee (Harbour View FC), Ricardo Morris (Portmore United, on loan at VPS), Kasey Palmer (Bristol City)

Strikers | Andre Gray (Watford), Jabari Hylton (UWI), Jamal Lowe (Swansea City), Chavany Willis (Portmore United, on loan at Bethelem Steel)

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