He is Johnny English no more! FIFA today gave the green light for former England National Under-17 captain John Bostock to represent his father John Bostock Senior’s birthplace, Trinidad and Tobago.
And Bostock, after a seven month wait, can finally put on the red, white and black strip.
The deep-lying playmaker, who nows plays for RC Lens in the France Second Division, is expected to make his senior international debut on Friday 11 November when the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team host Costa Rica from 7pm in Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
The contest will be the Soca Warriors’ first appearance in the CONCACAF Hex since 2009.
National Senior Team coach Stephen Hart confirmed that Bostock, a former Crystal Palace and Tottenham Spurs midfielder, is now officially a Trinidad and Tobago player.
“I think it is a very positive thing for us,” said Hart. “We knew that there [would be] a ruling early in November and we were very hopeful because we had submitted everything.”
Bostock’s availability is likely to soften the blow of Kevin Molino’s absence, as the Orlando City midfielder was suspended by national coach Stephen Hart for the Costa Rica outing and the subsequent trip to Honduras on 15 November—after breaching team rules to party twice in a month.
A tall, elegant player with a fierce left foot shot from open play and set pieces, Bostock generally operates as a box to box midfielder. But Hart has suggested that he could also use him in Molino’s “Number 10” role alongside captain and forward Kenwyne Jones.
“I think it is a big addition because he can play two positions, in central midfield or further forward as the ‘t10’,” Hart told Wired868. “So that gives us flexibility. Plus, he is well known for his set plays. So we now have him and Joevin [Jones] for those.”
The Warriors have gone off the boil of late with five losses in their last seven outings, which includes defeats against Guatemala and Martinique. Although, to be fair, they were never likely to succeed with a second string team against the likes of Peru, Uruguay and China.
Yet in 11 matches since November 2015, when David John-Williams was elected TTFA president, Trinidad and Tobago won just three matches—two against St Vincent and the Grenadines and one over the Dominican Republic—and failed to put away not just Martinique but Haiti and Grenada too.
In contrast, the Warriors lost once in regulation time prior to the local football election during a spell in which they defeated Guatemala (twice) and Cuba, drew with Mexico (twice) and held the United States goalless.
Bostock and returning goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams will hope to set that right on Friday evening, in what is likely to be Trinidad and Tobago’s toughest home fixture of the Hex.
Costa Rica are ranked 18th in the world by FIFA while Trinidad and Tobago are 65th.
(Trinidad and Tobago Team)
Goalkeepers: Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC), Marvin Phillip (Morvant Caledonia United), Adrian Foncette (Police);
Defenders: Aubrey David (FC Dallas—US), Daneil Cyrus (W Connection), Radanfah Abu Bakr (JK Silame Kalev—Estonia), Sheldon Bateau (KC Krylia Sovetov—Russia), Yohance Marshall (Murcielagos FC—Mexico), Jelani Peters (W Connection), Carlyle Mitchell (Seoul E Land—Korea Republic);
Midfielders: Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge—England), Khaleem Hyland (KV Westerlo—Belgium), Neveal Hackshaw (Charleston Battery—USA), Kevan George (Jackson Armada FC—US);
Attacking Midfielders: Levi Garcia (AZ Alkmaar—Netherlands), Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes—US), Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders—US), Jomal Williams (Murcielagos FC—Mexico), Marcus Joseph (Central FC), John Bostock (RC Lens—France);
Forwards: Kenwyne Jones (Central FC), Trevin Caesar (Orange County Blues—US), Willis Plaza (San Juan Jabloteh).
(Costa Rica Team)
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense), Esteban Alvarado (Trabzonspor);
Defenders: Johnny Acosta (Herediano), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps), Michael Umana (Alajuelense) Francisco Calvo (Saprissa), Cristian Gamboa (Celtic) Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC), Bryan Oviedo (Everton), Jose Salvatierra (Alajuelense), Pablo Salazar (Herediano);
Midfielders: Randall Azofeifa (Herediano), Celso Borges (Deportivo La Coruna), Yeltsin Tejeda (Lausanne), David Guzman (Saprissa), Bryan Ruiz (Sporting Lisbon), Cristian Bolanos (Vancouver Whitecaps), Johan Venegas (Montreal Impact), Rodney Wallace (Recife);
Forwards: Joel Campbell (Sporting Lisbon), Ariel Rodríguez (Bangkok Glass), Marco Uren (Brondby).