Coaches back 'Teddy' ... say leading striker should be in national programme
At least two local coaches believe Tivoli Gardens striker Jermaine 'Teddy' Johnson should be given a chance to play for the national programme despite coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore's pronouncement that the player is "past the national team":
Former national assistant coach Bradley Stewart said the Tivoli frontman has matured and deserves a chance.
Former Tivoli Gardens and Rivoli United coach Calvert Fitzgerald believes the 36-year-old is the most qualified of all local forwards now on show.
Johnson leads the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) scoring chart with 16 goals but has been ignored Whitmore, despite the emphasis now on local players for the national line-up.
Stewart, who assisted Whitmore during one of Johnson's stint with the team, said Johnson was "not the easiest" to deal with back then, but says he has shown maturity and leadership.
"I don't know if he would be able to bring that to the national programme, as in the past he might have not been the leader," said Stewart, giving his take on what may be Whitmore's thought process.
"(He) probably sees Teddy as the same player, who was not the easiest to deal with at the time, But probably he has matured. So I would give him a chance and see what he now brings to the table," Stewart told STAR Sports.
Fitzgerald said age should not be a factor and performance should be the main criteria for selection.
"If he was on par with another striker, I wouldn't have a problem with him being left out, but he is by far the best forward we have in the country, so he should in the squad.
"Going youth does not mean that if somebody is performing better than everybody they should not be included. He is the best we have," Fitzgerald added.