'Teddy' trains with Reggae Boyz - Whitmore heeds STAR call-out
CALLED out by STAR Sports' March 27 exclusive, 'Coaches back Teddy', national coach Theodore Whitmore yesterday handed Jermaine 'Teddy' Johnson, his first Reggae Boyz call-up in three years.
"We had a meeting, a one-on-one, with 'Teddy' today. We discussed a number of things and he expressed his concerns, and it turned out that it was a very fruitful meeting between us," Whitmore told STAR Sports.
Johnson's name was not on the list of 24 players called up to prepare for the Boyz' June 13 friendly against Peru, the Caribbean Cup semi-finals and final (June 22-25) and Gold Cup tournament.
However, when STAR Sports visited the team's training session at Stadium East yesterday, the Tivoli Gardens striker and head coach Whitmore were spotted in deep conversation as they made their way to the play field.
Johnson proceeded to get ready for training. When quizzed, if he was recalled, his response was, "I am just here working out with the team". Whitmore, however, was more forthcoming.
"We have the Peru (friendly) game coming up, which is on a FIFA date, then we have the Caribbean Cup, which is on a non-FIFA date, but we won't have most of our overseas players then, and Teddy has shown an interest and we see it fit to bring in Teddy' at this time," said the head coach.
"We do not guarantee 'Teddy' a starting place but with his experience in international and club football we believe he can bring something to this team," he added, assuring that the former Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder will continue training with the team until the final squad is selected for the Peru game
"He will start training with us from now on and we will take it from there," Whitmore pointed out.
Meanwhile team manager Roy Simpson said Johnson is showing experience and maturity among the young players. "Teddy is the big brother in the team right now," he said.
Johnson finished top scorer in the Premier League with 16 goals.