Levi, Plaza and Russell Jr in Warriors squad to face Wales; but no Joevin or Guerra

EPL Infrafred Sauna

Israel-based winger Levi Garcia returns to the Trinidad and Tobago international fold to face Wales at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham on 20 March while there were recalls for India-based forward Willis Plaza and central defenders Carlyle Mitchell and Mekeil Williams.

All three players are in a 22-man squad named by Men’s National Senior Team head coach Dennis Lawrence. The Soca Warriors leave on Sunday 17 March for the high profile friendly.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Levi Garcia (right) leaves Guyana captain Samuel Cox for dead during international friendly action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 14 November 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Wales are ranked 19th in the world by FIFA—74 places higher than Trinidad and Tobago—and have Real Madrid star Gareth Bale in their squad, which is coached by former Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs.

Lawrence does not have such talent at his disposal and, arguably, is without his two most gifted players in Minnesota United playmaker Kevin Molino, who missed much of 2018 with a torn ACL, and Darmstadt 98 winger Joevin Jones. The Warriors coach, an inductee in the Wrexham Hall of Fame, is due to discuss his squad at a press conference on Saturday morning and no explanation was offered yet on his selections or omissions.

Jones and Molino apart, Ataulla Guerra, Keston Julien and Jomal Williams all miss out from the squad that lost 1-0 to Iran last November. There were no summons either for versatile 20 year old Real Monarch full back Noah Powder and Orlando City goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh.

Lawrence retained much of his squad’s core with combative central midfielders Khaleem Hyland and Kevan George, defenders Daneil Cyrus and Sheldon Bateau and goalkeeper Marvin Phillip.

There was an intriguing call up for 26 year old Morvant Caledonia United flanker Ross Russell Jr, who can operate as a full back or winger on any flank.

Photo: Then Defence Force winger Ross Russell Jr (right) tries to sneak past Police FC midfield sentry Todd Ryan during 2015/16 Pro League action in Malabar.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

Russell Jr, who is uncapped at senior international level, had more important things than football on his mind over the past three years, as he spent two years in jail for the murder of Selwyn Gaff before law enforcement finally verified his alibi and dropped charges on 20 August 2018.

Less than a year later, the former soldier could be sharing the field with a player who cost Real Madrid £85.3 million in 2013 and is the seventh most expensive footballer of all time.

Not that 90 minutes against Bale would compare unfavourably with 26 months in Golden Grove, for a young man anxious to make up for lost time.

(Trinidad and Tobago team)

Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillip, Nicklas Frenderup, Adrian Foncette;

Defenders: Alvin Jones, Aubrey David, Daneil Cyrus, Sheldon Bateau, Carlyle Mitchell, Mekeil Williams, Triston Hodge, Ross Russell Jr;

Midfielders: Kevan George, Leston Paul, Neveal Hackshaw, Akeem Humphrey, Khaleem Hyland, Duane Muckette;

Attackers: Cordell Cato, Nathan Lewis, Levi Garcia, Lester Peltier, Willis Plaza.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Willis Plaza (right) runs at Mexico winger Miguel Layun Mexico forward Javier Hernandez (right) tries unsuccessfully to evade a tackle from Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Kevan George during 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 28 March 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

(Wales team)

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Leicester), Adam Davies (Barnsley), Chris Maxwell (Charlton, on loan from Preston);

Defenders: Ashley Williams (Stoke, on loan from Everton), Chris Gunter (Reading), Neil Taylor (Aston Villa), Ben Davies (Tottenham), Connor Roberts (Swansea), James Lawrence (Anderlecht), Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea), Tom Lockyer (Bristol Rovers), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Paul Dummett (Newcastle), Declan John (Swansea);

Midfielders: Ryan Hedges (Barnsley), Joe Allen (Stoke), David Brooks (Bournemouth), Ben Woodburn (Liverpool), Harry Wilson (Derby, on loan from Liverpool), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Matt Smith (FC Twente, on loan from Manchester City), Lee Evans (Wigan), Daniel James (Swansea), Will Vaulks (Rotherham), George Thomas (Scunthorpe, on loan from Leicester);

Forwards: Rabbi Matondo (Schalke), Sam Vokes (Stoke), Tom Lawrence (Derby), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Tyler Roberts (Leeds).

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  1. Gareth Bale may not even feature vs T&T because Wales have a Euro Cup qualifier 3 days after. Joevin Jones is a shocking omission and i like Guerra. i hope Lawrence have good reasons for leaving them out!!

  2. But i in here know talk about , ryan telfer, john bostok , nick deleon , mathew woo lin and more player out they to pick but aparently he knows what he is doin so i will give him up to the gold cup

  3. All these absentees indeed very odd

    You would think with Jan Michael Williams caught up with the new league pre season it would be an ideal opportunity to push G R’Singh

    The reasons for Joevin not being in also better be very very good

    • I think Jan-Michael is history, at least as far as Dennis Lawrence is concerned. Once we were mathematically out of contention for a spot in the 2018 World Cup, he was dropped, and hasn’t been recalled since.

    • I eh know de scene with Joevin. He was in the starting lineup for his club this morning, although he was substituted for tactical reasons in the 32nd minute.

    • For JMW…it cant be for age cuz he an MP is d same age…i believe its a political decision than any other reason…I hope NF gets game time cuz for close to two years we have been seein only two keepers in d post an others making themselves available an not being given a chance…One out anout striker?? Wat happen to JB or DR…he od but still active an cud make a contribution to d younger players in d squad…even MJ…smh

    • Che Abrams it would be nice the see more players from the 2009 U-20 world cup squad on the senior team 10 years later.

    • Would have been ideal situation, but without any real progression, transition and planning, this is expected… I am not understanding the selection of non-active players playing… I wish the team well, only wish we would pick team on merit…

    • Timothy, the vast majority of the 2009 U-20 World Cup squad have represented our Senior Team. Only four players (Qian Grosvenor, Uriah Bentick, Andre Marchan, and Jesse Fullerton) never earned a cap. Sheldon Bateau, Daneil Cyrus, Aubrey David, Khaleem Hyland, Leston Paul, and Mekeil Williams are on the roster to play against Wales. Kevin Molino is out injured. Curtis Gonzales has been a regular of late. Robert Primus probably would have been a regular if he wasn’t blighted by injury. We all know about Akeem Adams (RIP). Then you have players like Sean De Silva, Jamal Gay, and Marcus Joseph. That squad is the most successful squad in recent history in terms of continuity.

    • Jamal Clarence, Rochford and the keepers

    • Nigel Myers additionally, these players will be in 30s, I really think we should be transitioning to younger players… the Levi Garcia era… I agree the 2009 U20s have formed basis of Senior team for last years… not sure what is situation with Lobo, but unless it is disciplinary or non release from Club, he should be in this team….

    • Timothy, Clarence has two caps (India, Antigua), Jean-Luc has one (Finland), and Glenroy has one (China).

    • Che, I think our transitioning of players is severely hampered by our lack of games. So we end up seeing the same players over and over again regardless of form, activity, or fitness. If we played more games we would be able to get the next crop of players ready, instead of waiting for them to hit dey mid-20s.

    • Are they going to be in Wales for more than three days

    • Depends how much money Wales willing to spend. LOL. They supposed to be flying out tomorrow, which will give them two days of practice. I suppose they will be returning on Thursday.

    • Nigel Myers smh. One week would have afforded them a scrimmage with a club side even

    • Nigel Myers Ranjitsingh should be our future…. no disrespect to Foncette, but we need the quality youth. Not sure of other GK from Europe, but actively playing at that level is worthy of call up.

    • Timothy, remember is Wales footing de bill.

    • Che, Ranjitsingh should have been on dat squad long time. Makes no sense that he has not even been given a chance to prove himself at international level. I know for a fact that he would have gotten the chance under Hart. He was supposed to play in the Caribbean Cup one year, but his club only wanted to release him for one game because they had playoffs at the time. There is also Dayne St. Clair at Minnesota United in the MLS, but as far as I know, we’ve never approached him in his formative years, and he has declared Canada as his first choice.

    • Guess folks in this administration fo mor have the negotiating skills like JW. Lol.

  4. This is bullshit the fight is real yes Jemba Boss Aarön Andrews god is gd

  5. Where Marcus Joseph … wow lol … this must be a joke

  6. No Marcus Joseph , 7 goals in his last 9 match for his domestic club in the same league as Plaza. This is a joke of a team. 1 out and out striker??

  7. No Marcus Joseph either ‍♂️‍♂️

  8. I’ve two thoughts….Mekheil Williams is a curiousity to me….I think he’s a good defender but I’ve never been convinced of his fitness and I feel that’s hampered his progress secondly…. wasn’t Alvin Jones on trial recently? Outcome?

  9. This constant inability to have us play two games in an international window is hampering our quest to add depth to our squad. Lack of games means less or no time to adequately view players in competitive matches. Ent Gary?

  10. I FEAR for this team I really do…we could be mauled

  11. Surprise omissions: Joevin Jones, Ataulla Guerra
    Surprise selections: Ross Russell Jr., Carlyle Mitchell

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