Reggae Boyz eager to put right foot forward
Reggae Boyz Leon Bailey (left) and Maliek Howell train in New Jersey on Monday. (Photo: Richard Bell)

NATIONAL senior men's footballers Leon Bailey and Damion Lowe say they are determined to produce a high-quality performance for the country against South American side Argentina in their friendly international match this evening.

The game is set for the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey starting at 7:00 pm, Jamaica time.

The match will be the first for newly appointed Boyz Head Coach Heimir Hallgrimsson.

Bailey, 25, who plays for Aston Villa in the English Premier League, said the vibe among the squad members is positive. "I think that there are a lot of quality players in the team and it is just that we need to put together the right players and, obviously, the system that the coach is going to improvise in. I think we should be able to do good things in tomorrow's [Tuesday's] game," said Bailey, who is to face the Lionel Messi-led Argentina team for the first time in his career.

"Hopefully we can come away with a good result, but it is going to be a very tough game," said the attacking player.

"It is the first game for the manager as well so it should be very exciting for everybody as we are playing against a good opponent and so we just have to be focused and work hard throughout the whole game," Bailey stated.

Lowe said the team's last two training sessions under Hallgrimsson have been intense but fruitful. He said players are eager to go into battle against the South Americans, who are ranked number three in the world.

"Everybody is in good spirits. It has been a long time since we have come together as a national team," said Lowe.

"Obviously with the new coach there is a lot of optimism. I think everyone has bought into what the coach wants to do, and his vision, and the plan that he has for tomorrow [today]," said the tough-tackling defender.

"The two sessions were very good — quality from back to front — and I think the players are feeling good. Most of the players were sharp in these sessions and looking forward to the game," Lowe said.

Like Bailey, Lowe will also be playing against the Argentinians for the first time in his career and, according to the defender who plays club football at Inter Miami in the Major League Soccer in the United States, this is a massive game for him.

"As a footballer everyone has dreams and aspirations to play at the highest level and to play against the best in the world and so I am looking forward to it," he said.

— Robert Bailey

Robert Bailey

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