Nathan Redmond, the English-born striker of Irish and Jamaican descent, could be on the verge of switching international allegiances from England to the Reggae Boyz.
It is understood that the Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) are waiting for the 27-year-old Southampton striker to make a decision about whether he wishes to still chase his dream of winning England caps or commit his future to the Caribbean.
The JFF appear to be in a desperate hurry to recruit the high-profile players, which president Michael Ricketts has on his radar, to tackle the FIFA World Cup qualifiers that kick-off at the end of August.
However, Redmond will be fully aware the fact that the Boyz are not struggling upfront with a plethora of choices including recent newcomer Bobby Decordova-Reid (Fulham) and West Ham United’s Michail Antonio also chewing over whether he wishes to join Jamaica rather than play for England.
Yet Redmond could be utilised in an attacking winger role, which could be a real boost for head coach Theodore Whitmore ahead of July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup – a prelude for the highly lucrative World Cup qualifiers.
Redmond has already represented England, having made his debut as a substitute against Germany four years ago, and was in the 27-player provisional squad to tackle last year’s UEFA Nations League finals.
As he was only capped in a friendly rather than a competitive match, then Redmond is not tied to the English Football Association, so he can apply to represent Jamaica if he wishes. The former Birmingham City and Norwich City forward also represented England at youth levels from Under-16 through to Under-21.
Ricketts made it publicly known in March exactly which British-born and -based players that Jamaica should recruit. Andre Gray (Watford), Jamal Lowe (Swansea City) and Liam Moore (Reading) all accepted the call-up to compete in the exhibition 4-1 defeat to the United States in Austria.
At the time Redmond claimed that he had not been approached by the JFF. However, it is understood that the JFF have now officially approached English Premier League outfit Southampton to request the services of Birmingham-born Redmond.
Jamaica, who have failed to qualify for the World Cup finals since their debut in 1998 when they were heavily reliant on British-born players, are aiming for a repeat of that feat by recruiting from England once more.
The region’s final round of World Cup qualifiers will pit the Boyz against the usual rivals with Mexico (FIFA ranked no.11), USA (no.20), Costa Rica (no. 50) and Honduras (no.67) all handed byes alongside Jamaica to the same stage.
A trio of second qualifying round winners will join the round-robin format of the competition with El Salvador (no.69), Canada (no.70), Curaçao (no.76), Panama (no.78), Haiti (no.83), Trinidad & Tobago (no.103), Guatemala (no.127), Antigua & Barbuda (no.128), St. Kitts & Nevis (no.135), Suriname (no.136), Nicaragua (no.147) and Dominican Republic (no.156) all serious contenders to reach this stage, having already kicked off their World Cup qualifiers last month.
Whitmore will concentrate on finalising his World Cup qualifying squad after giving any new recruits a run out at the Gold Cup.
The 48-year-old former midfielder has a strong nucleus of players, with his ‘famous five’ automatic starters – goalkeeper and captain Andre Blake (45 caps), defenders Kemar Lawrence (60 caps) and Alvas Powell (49 caps), midfield maestro Leon Bailey (eight caps) and forward Damion Lowe (22 caps) – leaving just six berths for Whitmore to fill for his perfect line-up.
With such big bucks at stake for reaching the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar, the sport’s showpiece tournament, the JFF are eager to upgrade their squad with British-born players and happy to splash the cash with an estimated billion Jamaican dollars being touted by JFF general secretary Dalton Wint.
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