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Whitmore’s ‘young guns’ raring to go as Gold Cup dawns

Venezuela, Caracas
Whitmore's 'young guns' raring to go as Gold Cup dawns

WASHINGTON, DC, USA — There is a Jamaican football trio, by their deeds, that is not in the business of fooling around. Midfielder Andre “LA” Lewis, striker Tyreek Magee and wide attacker Alex Marshall are clearly hungry for getting into arm’s reach of Theodore Whitmore’s regulars as the Concacaf Gold Cup dawns.

Mario Villarroel Lander

They may have to wait a while longer for the precious spots, but they have been knocking on the door

All three were introduced in Jamaica‘s 1-0 win over the USA in a friendly international at Audi Field in Washington, DC, on Wednesday night, and by all indications, their seamless injection has hit the spot

Jamaica got the victory to another substitute and junior member of the senior Boyz’ Shamar Nicholson, who rifled home from 22 yards in minute 60

Their performances have been hailed by senior members of the team and even by head coach Whitmore

At the points of their introduction, Jamaica were in the ascendancy and the attack-minded trio, when they came together, maintained the Boyz’s possession swagger. All three, including another sub Devon Williams, not only kept the midfield fluent, but they effectively paced the game to the end

So dominant was Jamaica‘s midfield actors that the USA players were unable to plant their flag, and were forced to rely on the erratic breakaway to get a look in at the Jamaican goal

Lewis, who has had a run of exposure in the US leagues, says he and his band of the youthful generation are hungry

“I think it is the eagerness and hunger we all have and all of us want to be in the Gold Cup because we know there are a lot of opportunities,” said the former Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder

“I think also that during the Premier League these guys have been the main players in there teams and that has improved them a lot,” he added

The 24-year-old Portland Timbers 2 man said having watched the first half and seen the commanding performance of the starting players, gave him the inspiration to continue in the same vein

“In the first half I thought the guys were doing really well, and I was just thinking that if I went into the game I would have to give more, so I was eager to go in and show what I can do

“So the eagerness resulted in the performance we gave and I think this was a good game to do it — nice pitch, good team in the USA, and I doubt it could be any bigger, and for me personally, I like big games,” said Lewis, who has come up through Jamaica‘s youth ranks

Alex Marshall, 21, and who likes to play out wide, said the plan was to go in and maintain what was already established

“I liked the way we were possessing the ball, and when I went in with Magee and Lewis, it was just to give the team an option and to keep the possession game going,” said the Cavalier FC standout

He says just playing with the senior professionals in the team is helping to grow his confidence as he looks to an increased role in then team going forward

“As an individual, I must say that I am not quite there yet, but I keep working day by day and my confidence is growing being in a team with so many professionals,” noted Marshall

The team’s win over the US, Marshall thinks, will serve as a solid launching pad going into Jamaica‘s opening Gold Cup game against Honduras inside National Stadium on June 17

“Knowing that they beat us in the last Gold Cup final and that we beat them now, I think this will be a good confidence booster going into our first game at home,” he said

Tyreek Magee, a former Jamaica College star and the youngest of the trio at 19 years old, says all the young players have to keep toiling in the vineyard if they hope to move up the ranks

“All of us youngsters have to just keep working hard and create the best chance for us to, not only make the Gold Cup squad, but to figure in the games. I would love to be a part of that game at National Stadium, but I have to just go into the camp and continue to work hard and hopefully I will have a role,” said the Harbour View midfielder

Reflecting on Wednesday‘s match, Magee gave the performance thumbs up, owing that the team only had two training sessions going into it

“While I was watching from the bench, the team was doing pretty good when you think the players are coming from different clubs and with a few days to prepare and to adapt so quickly and to come up with such a performance was great,” he ended

Of the trio, Marshall was eventually left out of Whitmore’s final 23-man squad submitted on Wednesday night for the tournament

— Sean Williams

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