IT is said that the mark of a good footballer is when he appears to have a lot more time than others.
Well, in 28-year-old defender Jermaine Taylor, one would readily identify such a trait.
He is calmness personified, he has gained tremendous ability over the years and he's a utility player who any coach would want in his team.
Standing at 1.78 metres and weighing in at 180 kg, Taylor seems set to partner Nyron Nosworthy at the heart of Jamaica's defence in today's opening game of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying series.
It is a partnership that has been used just once before, against Antigua and Barbuda at the National Stadium in the last round of the semi-final phase, and Taylor is cognisant of the task he has on his hands today — that of trying to nullify Mexico's Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez and company.
"I don't know too much about him, but I've watched him play a couple times in the Premier League and I know he is a tricky player, smart in terms of his movement off the ball, but more or less it is his movement towards goal which is critical," was Taylor's quick response when asked about the Manchester United talismanic striker.
"I think he is mainly right-footed than left, and I realise that he is not one to take on two or three defenders to create his own goalscoring chances, but he is going to have good players feeding him, so he is a guy you want to keep in check and keep in front of you. The less looks you can give him at goal, the better your chances of keeping him off the score sheet," the burly utility player with a reported 53 international caps, added.
Taylor made his debut at the senior level for Jamaica at the age of 19, and has played at Harbour View and St George's Sports Club before joining Houston Dynamo of the US Major League Soccer in a few seasons ago.
The man, who only last December tied the knot, has led all of Jamaica's youth teams through the ranks and has captained the senior team at different intervals. He advertised his leadership qualities by taking notes of Mexico's friendly international last week against Denmark in Arizona.
"I saw them play Denmark last week and they rotate a lot with what looked like a 4-1-4-1 formation, and they tend to start playing from the back of the field. We need to keep them wide and not allow them to get inside," he said, though readily making it clear that this is his views and not the team's.
He told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that the Reggae Boyz will have to match Mexico's intensity, because "Chicharito is going to be their key man", although Giovani dos Santos is also crucial to their team.
"If we can keep the ball handlers off the ball, then we could interrupt their chemistry and fluidity. Our tactics are key, we will have to stop the game if they are flowing too smoothly," he opined.
He said he has not yet spoken to Nosworthy about their collective plan to ward off Chicharito, but he was hoping to have that chat by last evening's practice and at the very latest, by dinner.