Darryl Roberts to National Team

Dutch-based striker Darryl Roberts will lead the Trinidad and Tobago attack, hoping to make an impression on coach Francisco Maturana in today’s friendly international against Jamaica at the National Stadium, Kingston from 7 p.m. (8 p.m. T&T time).

Roberts, who will line up along with US-based striker Randi Patterson, is coming off recent goals for his club Sparta Rotterdam against Ajax Amsterdam and PSV Eindhoven and knows he will be carrying a big responsibility against the “Reggae Boyz”.

He had his first session with the team under Maturana at the National Stadium last evening.

“We’re trying to fight off relegation but every time I come home to play for the national team and to wear national colours it’s always been a pleasure,” said Roberts, referring to his Dutch club.

“My country is always in my heart and I always feel proud when I get the call. I always try to do my best for my country when I get the chance,” Roberts told Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) media officer Shaun Fuentes.

“I’m looking forward to playing against Jamaica. Aside from the rivalry, it’s also a stepping stone to building a team for the Word Cup qualifiers this summer so I want to try and do my best and represent well.

“Definitely, every time I step on the field, I look forward to playing against anyone and also with the guys here. Although some of the other guys didn’t come for this game I have a responsibility along with the other players on the team to represent the country to the fullest and hopefully we can get victory here,” Roberts added.

“Coming to play for the country can be a bit difficult for both for me and the club but there is nothing more exciting than representing my country and the manager and coach have  to understand this. They support me 100 per cent and hopefully when  I go back I can fight for my place in the club.”

Maturana conducted a 90-minute session on Monday and then had use of the match venue for an hour yesterday.

“It is a chance to get the players prepared for the game so we settled on the first day and then today (yesterday) we do more work in relation to the game against Jamaica. We have a couple of the players coming from overseas and we will do the best we can to let them in it with the rest of the team. Jamaica is a team that will not be easy to play at home. They will want to win this game but we will not give them an easy time because we have our plans as well and we are preparing for qualification. We will hope to play the best possible game on the day,” Maturana told Fuentes yesterday.

T&T skipper Aurtis Whitley will be hoping his team can carry on from last week’s 1-0 win over El Salvador, but he knows that this one will be a different type of contest.

“Jamaica will not be easy to play at home but I think it’s a good test for some of the players we have in the squad now,” said Whitley.

Trinidad and Tobago will not have the services of Sunderland duo Kenwyne Jones or Carlos Edwards for the game.

FIFA vice-president Jack Warner and T&TFF president Oliver Camps will fly in today to witness the match.

The T&T players include: goalkeeper Marvin Phillip (W Connection), Kern Cupid (W Connection), Keon Daniel (United Petrotrin), Aurtis Whitley (W Connection), Akeem Adams (T&T U20s), Jamal Gay (T&T U20s), Khaleem Hyland (San Juan Jabloteh), Makan Hislop (United Petrotrin), Kerry Baptiste (Joe Public), Aklie Edwards (Defence Force) and Keyeno Thomas (Joe Public).

Belgium-based goalie Jan Michael Williams, Collin Samuel (Toronto FC),  Roberts (Sparta Rotterdam), Odei Telesford and Patterson (Charleston Battery) complete the squad.

Jamaica’s squad, with former T&T coach Rene Simoes in charge: Goalkeeper: Donovan Ricketts (Bradford City); Defenders: Demar Phillips (Stoke City), Omar Daley (Bradford City), Tyrone Marshall (Toronto FC), Demar Stewart (Royal Whitestar), Oneil Thompson (Notodden Football Club); Midfielders: Jamal Campbell-Ryce (Barnsley), Khari Stephenson AIK of Allsvenskan; Forwards: Marlon King (Fulham), Luton Shelton (Sheffield United), Deon Burton (Sheffield Wednesday).

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