Trinidad and Tobago Head coach Francisco Maturana is assured of the services of at least six United Kingdom-based players for the upcoming friendly international against England. And he says they’ve all earned their picks on merit and present day status.
That was the opinion coming from the Colombian-born coach as he spoke of his recent meeting with the six UK-based pros – Sunderland’s Kenwyne Jones and Carlos Edwards, Southampton’s Stern John, Walsall’s Clayton Ince and Swansea City duo Jason Scotland and Dennis Lawrence. Next week Maturana is expected to finalize his squad for the June 1 encounter which could also include a limited number of other overseas-based pros.
Speaking on Friday following a training session at the Marvin Lee Stadium ahead of Sunday’s friendly against Barbados, Maturana made his feelings clear.
Click to see video of team in Friday's session
“Everybody wants to play against England but everybody cannot play one match, only eleven players can be on the pitch at one time and we will select the players we see best fit. There are no favours and we don’t pick on reputation or history. What you did last year or the year before doesn’t tell what you will do today. But if a player is playing consistently and we feel this way about the player in recent time then for sure he will have a better chance that the other player,” Maturana told TTFF Media.
“Our meetings in England were good and it was refreshing for all of us. The players talked about their ambitions to do well for the country and to try and qualify for the next World Cup. That is a big part of the job right there… now we have to work together and finish the job on the playing field. We need the players who are committed to play with their hearts and I saw this in our meetings,” he added.
On the issue of having a player like Khaleem Hyland in the team even though he is unattached at the moment, Maturana’s response was that he was satisfied with his current level of play and the player was in the midst of training with Portsmouth as well as in private training with the national team trainers even while the team was not in day to day training.
“No player is being overlooked but I go with what I know for sure of the players at the time,” added Maturana. “I want to build something strong and if my ingredients don’t work then we keep on trying to get the team to where we want it.”
Hyland leading the jump during training on Friday
Team manager David Muhammad gave further details on the meetings.
“Coach Francisco Matura was direct and specific in regards to what he expected from the players, and the national team members in turn expressed their total support and commitment to Trinidad & Tobago. Assistant Coach Anton Corneal clearly articulated a vision for the sport in our country and highlighted exactly how instrumental each of the players could be in this mission,” Muhammad said.
Muhammad himself pointed out the importance of the logistical operations that provide a support system for the team as a whole, and how players can assist in these matters.
”Each of the foreign based players contributed positively to the discussions in a way that was very encouraging to the management and coaching staff. Suggestions were offered that were in the best interest of all. In general, the discussions were open, frank, honest, worthwhile and very valuable. The final objective agreed to by all was to move forward and collectively represent Trinidad & Tobago in the best manner, and qualify for the World Cup 2010. My general view is that the meeting helped bring the TTFF even closer to the players,” the manager added.
Meantime, the current squad had a 90-minute session at the Marvin Lee Stadium on Friday and will train there again from 6pm on Saturday. US-based defender Ancil Farrier, already called up earlier this year, has been added to the team and was scheduled to arrive on Friday night. W Connection midfielder Aurtis Whitley will sit out Sunday’s encounter due to a niggling foot injury while Lester Peltier could also miss the encounter due to club commitments with Clico San Juan Jabloteh in Puerto Rico. The Jabloteh team is scheduled back here on Saturday night but Maturana is insisting that the player has at least one session with the national team before the game. Jabloteh midfielder Atulla Guerra did not travel with his club and was in training at the Marvin Lee on Friday. Kick off time on Sunday is 6pm with WASA FC and Malabar FC meeting in a earlier fixture from 3pm. (May 9, 2008)