Vassell remains grounded despite starring role

BY IAN BURNETT
Sport Editor

Monday, August 20, 2018

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — He had a two-goal star performance in Jamaica's 5-1 thumping of Grenada Friday night which would have been the obvious envy of many, but Harbour View Football Club's Peter-Lee Vassell downgraded his performance to nothing more than average, even as he welcomes the plaudits.

The 20-year-old Harbour View Football Club attacking midfielder scored in the 20 minutes when he was on the receiving end of a pass from Alex Marshall, and two minutes after the resumption, he rammed home from close range from a Fabian Reid serve.

The elegant player then accounted for Jamaica's fourth, after the home side had pulled a goal back, when he raced unto a through pass down the left side of the penalty area and centred only for a retreating defender to turn into his own net on the hour mark.

“It wasn't my best performance even though I got two goals,” he told the Jamaica Observer just prior to the team's departure from Grenada to Barbados yesterday.

“It was an average performance based on how I play,” he asserted in a frank manner. “The type of player that I am, a more attacking player, the ball handler and I didn't get involved as much,” he explained.

It was only Vassell's fourth cap, and already he has found the target on three occasions, certainly excellent statistics that any striker would be proud of.

He made his debut against Antigua at Sabina Park, then followed up with games against St Kitts and Antigua away, before increasing his tally to four on Friday night.

Vassell continued: “It is a work in progress and I give God thanks for getting me two goals and it was based on the work why I got those goals. It was a wonderful game, a good performance by the team because what we did in training we went on the football pitch and did the same and I think that brought us the victory.”

The slender player's performance did not go unnoticed, as Head Coach Theodore Whitmore was lavish in his assessment, while on occasions on Friday night he had the partisan home crowd truly appreciating his silky touches and manoeuvres.

“There is no question where Peter-Lee Vassell is concerned as regards his performance,” said Whitmore, also known for his silky skills back in his playing days.

“We have seen him grow over a number of games he has played for the national team. The question for me now is how far does Peter-Lee Vassell want to go from here because we tend to see a lot of players believe that they have “reached” where they want and take their foot off the pedal, but I have to encourage him to keep his head in the right place going forward.”

For Vassell it has been a successful transition to the senior level, after lighting up schoolboy football with his successful daCosta Cup side Cornwall College.

“It is a wonderful transition at the age I am to be in the senior team, so it is a motivation to go pro,” he said.

However, the youngster is fully cognizant that he is by no means the finished product and there are many barriers still yet to be hurdled. And he also claimed that he has yet to achieve anything from the sport so therefore he doesn't see himself being led astray and getting carried away.

“I just think that I need to work on my weaknesses like to tackle more and cover more areas of the pitch,” and as it relates to getting carried away, he said: “No, because I have not benefitted yet from football with anything. I haven't let my people (family) live a wonderful life as yet, so until that day I couldn't say that I have arrived or am a star.”

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