North East Stars attacker Cornell Glen might be auditioning for a recall with the Trinidad and Tobago national football team from 7 pm tonight when he leads the Pro League outfit against plucky Super League team Stokely Vale in Toyota Classic Cup semifinal action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.
Glen is the joint leading scorer in the Trinidad and Tobago’s domestic top flight this season with seven goals in all competitions, despite being hampered by a niggling injury. Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling and St Ann’s Rangers utility player Devon Modeste also have seven goals each.
“He is one of the best players we have locally with his experience once he is a fit,” Trinidad and Tobago national senior team assistant coach Derek King told Wired868.com. “His pace is outstanding and he has been playing really well.”
King will be joined by co-head coaches Hutson “Barber” Charles and Jamaal Shabazz at the Hasely Crawford Stadium tonight as the technical staff looks to finalise its roster for next week’s Caribbean Cup finals in Antigua and Barbuda.
Although the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) released a speculative training squad during the week, the actual squad will only be decided after tonight’s Toyota Classic double header in Port of Spain, which also includes a 9 pm showdown between DIRECTV W Connection and Defence Force.
Wired868 understands that a few more players may be under the microscope including talented 20-year-old Connection attacker Shahdon Winchester and the Defence Force pair of clever 29-year-old central midfielder Jerwyn Balthazar and promising 20-year-old winger Ross Russell Jr.
Stokely Vale has already eliminated Caribbean Club champions Caledonia AIA and Pro League outfit Police FC and the Tobagonians might also be happy for a chance to play in front of national selectors.
Striker Rundel Winchester has three goals from two outings against Pro League opposition in this competition and would hope to give further evidence of his ability tonight.
Glen, whose international tally reads 63 caps with 21 goals, is no stranger to the “red, white and black” and his presence could potentially energise a forward line-up that underwhelmed in the qualifying round at Bacolet, Tobago.
Towering Caledonia striker Jamal Gay is recovering from injury going into the regional finals while Richard Roy and Jorsling, who will both be in action for Defence Force tonight, have failed to cement a place upfront for the senior team this year.
Their uncertain form might pave for the way for Glen who has not represented his country since the 2010 Caribbean tournament under coach Russell Latapy. Glen was carrying a knock at that competition too and made two appearances off the substitutes’ bench.
Injury has, unfortunately, played a recurring role in Glen’s career.
His shining moment came at the 2006 World Cup when he showed his nerve and raw potential with a sizzling cameo against Sweden in which he struck the bar and tormented the European defenders. Glen fared well, as a substitute, against England’s Ashley Cole too but was injured in his final group match against Paraguay.
That injury prompted another two year absence from international duty. Football fans would have fingers crossed that, starting tonight, Glen can finally put his health issues behind him.
Five foreign-based players likely to be pencilled into the Caribbean Cup squad are wingers Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava, Slovakia) and Cordell Cato (Seattle Sounders, US), defensive midfielder Kevan George (Columbus Crew, US) and the Vietnam-based pair of versatile defender Daneil Cyrus and attacker Willis Plaza.
There is no word yet as to the fate of Philadephia Union playmaker Keon Daniel who was absent without leave from Trinidad and Tobago’s last qualifying round.
After almost a month spent out of communication with the technical staff, Daniel spoke with Shabazz by phone last night and declared his availability to represent his country. The technical staff is due to discuss the player’s stated reason for his absence amongst themselves before coming to a decision.
The 25-year-old Daniel has 54 international caps with 12 goals.
There are no such question marks over fellow Tobago-born midfielder George, who grew up in Roxborough before migrating to the United States as a boy and represented the Trinidad and Tobago under-23 team in its unsuccessful 2012 Olympic bid earlier this year. He only played six times for Crew last season in the United States Major League Soccer (MLS) but King thinks he can be a valuable addition.
“He is quick, can head the ball and is technically and tactically sound,” said King. “I think he can add to the team as a defensive midfielder.”
The assistant coach does not expect many changes to the senior team before next month’s competition but, should the team advance to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup finals, other local talent will have the chance to earn a pick during the seven month build-up to the tournament.
For Glen and one or two fortunate players involved in the Toyota Classic semifinals, the door is still open tonight.
Toyota Classic Cup semifinals
North East Stars v Stokely Vale, 7 pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium
Defence Force v W Connection, 9 pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium
Editor’s Note: Story updated with information on national midfielder Keon Daniel