Rookies hunger for more after first taste of Reggae Boyz cherry

Friday, February 02, 2018

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ANTALYA, Turkey — One bite, and already they want another.

Two of Jamaica's debutantes against South Korea here on Tuesday can hardly wait to sink their teeth yet again in the Reggae Boyz cherry.

UWI FC utility man Fabion McCarthy is so confident in his performance in Turkey that he would have made an impression on the coaching staff.

“Going forward, I want to cement myself in the national team and hopefully get a contract and take it from there… I will be in this team, and as I have said, the work has just started,” noted the former Montego Bay United man.

McCarthy, who represented Jamaica at the Under-23 level, said his optimism for future call-ups to the senior national level is fuelled by the confidence that he knows head Coach Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore has in his abilities.

“I know the coach has confidence in me, and that is not something recent, it has been for a long time,” McCarthy shared.

The 27-year-old, a regular at UWI FC, believes his first brush with senior Boyz will aid in making him a better player as he looks to pin down a spot in the squad and secured a professional contract outside of Jamaica.

“It was a good experience as I go forward with my career… the key to my success so far is just hard word, and that's what I intend to do as I look to develop,” said the St James native.

In the first game Jamaica played against Romanian side CS Gaz Metan Medias last Saturday, McCarthy was deployed as a midfielder, but his versatility came to the fore when he was reassigned in the international friendly against World Cup-set South Korea.

“As a utility player and playing the central midfield role, it's not much different than playing the sweeper role in defence, so I was able to adjust easily,” he explained.

McCarthy, a winning daCosta Cup captain with St James High in 2008, embraces the view that many of his fellow rookies did themselves proud in Turkey.

“I thought that each and every player has done well and I thought they did their best, and I must say congrats to all of them,” he ended

Meanwhile, 22-year-old Portmore United striker Javon East expressed mixed feelings with his performance, but appeared upbeat he had done enough to earn a recall.

“I think I did well with my defensive work, and the way I played without and with the ball.

“I must say I am disappointed because I am striker and strikers are known for scoring goals, and to play two games and didn't score, I think that was poor from me,” said East, who is second in the goalscoring race in the Red Stripe Premier League with 13 goals.

Despite that, said he will continue to work hard and is hoping to get another shot at the senior level.

“It was a great experience and I am just looking forward to playing the next time… I will have to just go back to Jamaica and keep putting in the work,” he noted.

His teammate from Portmore, midfielder Maalique Foster, who was also a debutante, scored two excellent goals in as many matches — accomplishing what striker East would have hoped for on the tour.

“My colleague Maalique Foster produced a very brilliant goal on his debut against South Korea, so we can't take anything from that… I am just happy for him,” said East, the former Calabar High player.

— Sean Williams

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