Whitmore welcomes flurry of England-born players

March 05, 2021

Amid reports that Jamaica could further increase the complement of England-born players for the senior squad ahead of the World Cup qualifiers, national senior men's coach Theodore Whitmore says that he welcomes them as long as they stay committed to the cause.

His comments come as West Ham striker Michail Antonio has started the process of acquiring his Jamaica passport and Reading defender Liam Moore has completed his paperwork and is available for selection.

Among the various players that are on Jamaica's radar are Brentford striker Ivan Toney and Everton's Mason Holgate as well as Bayer Leverkusen's Damari Gray, Norwich City's Max Aarons, Newcastle United's Isaac Hayden, and Ranger's Kemar Roofe.

While indicating at Monday's virtual press conference that they are looking at potential players to bolster his options, Whitmore said that once their commitment to the country is shown, he does not foresee any competition from their respective nations.

"Once their heart is with Jamaica, nothing else can stop it. No England, America, no one else can stop it," Whitmore said.

When asked specifically about the potential pursuit of Holgate, Whitmore confirmed that he was on the radar although he gave no specific details.

"We continue to work on having the best players to represent the country, and I think Mason, not only Mason, but quite a few others are on the list," Whitmore said.

Ravel Morrison became the latest England-born player to switch allegiances to Jamaica, making his international debut in November during the two-game international series against Saudi Arabia. The 28-year-old Moore, who received his passport according to Jamaica Football Federation president Michael Ricketts, declared his commitment to the team and his readiness

"We got a note from him to say that he is 100 per cent ready. Nothing will prevent him from giving his heart, and he is, in fact, ready and waiting for the call-up," Ricketts said.

That callup could come in three weeks' time when Jamaica plays its first match of the year against the United States in Austria in March. The match is part of the preparations for a critical year for the Reggae Boyz, which includes the Gold Cup tournament as well as the final round of World Cup qualifiers, which begin in September.

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