Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Team will continue its preparations for the CONCACAF Gold Cup with another friendly international at home on March 22nd against Central American opponents Belize.
The match will take place at the Ato Boldon Stadium (due to the unavailability of other stadiums currently under refurbishment). T&T will also travel to Lima to face Peru’s senior team in a return friendly on March 26th.
The upcoming friendlies gives the T&T coaching staff the opportunity to have a look at some players who may not have been involved in the recent friendly against Peru with the approach geared towards selecting the best possible squad to represent this country at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States.
Middlesbrough and former Arsenal defender Justin Hoyte has been called to the squad. Hoyte communicated with the TTFF last month and has expressed his willingness to join the National Team for the upcoming games. The 28-year-old Hoyte was capped 18 times for the England U-21 team, and played all four matches at the 2007 UEFA Under-21 Championship. He made his debut for Arsenal at age 18 in a 6-1 victory over Southampton. Hoyte later went on to join Sunderland on loan where he played before joining “Boro” on £3 million transfer in 2008.
There is also a recall for Port Vale midfielder Chris Birchall with European-based players Darryl Roberts, Sheldon Bateau, Robert Primus; Stoke City forward Kenwyne Jones, US-based duo Keon Daniel and Carlyle Mitchell also on the short-list. Ipswich Town midfielder Carlos Edwards and Racing Genk midfielder Khaleem Hyland have both been excused as head coach Hutson Charles explained they remain in the team’s plans for the CONCACAF Gold Cup and will be included in the mix in follow up matches prior to the Gold Cup as well.
There is also the possibility that English-born former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder John Bostock will be called to the team after expressing his desire recently to play for T&T. Bostock is currently training with Toronto FC. The 21-year-old player is a former England youth international. The ex-Crystal Palace attacking midfielder has had loan spells with Bradford, Hull City, Sheffield Wednesday and Swindon Town.
Charles said the two games will be used to continue the team’s fine tuning for the Gold Cup.
“These are two further matches that will be valuable to the team’s preparations for the Gold Cup in July,” Charles told TTFF Media.
“We had a good opportunity to see some of the players from abroad in the last game against Peru and we also had the chance to see the local-based players in that particular game The process of seeing what the players have to offer will continue in these two matches coming up. Of course, even though we will not recall the likes of Carlos and Khaleem for these two games, we still want to have a pretty decent squad involved,” Charles added.
“We will have a couple new players in the squad but we will maintain the nucleus of the team together as we try to get it right in time for the Gold Cup.
“These are games that we are looking forward to. Belize have made it to the Gold Cup so it will be a good chance to have match practice at home to them and then playing away to Peru will be a good opportunity for the players to get a good test in conditions away from home,” he said.
Charles commented on the call up of Hoyte and Birchall, saying “He (Hoyte) is a very exciting prospect for our national team. These are the kind of players who have that hunger and show that kind of interest that we want to include in our efforts to move forward. We know what Brichall can do and it’s been a while now we are
looking for a player of his kind to give us that energy again in the midfield. And of course Justin is a player we will be looking forward to seeing in Trinidad and Tobago,” Charles continued.
Belize are coached by Costa Rican Leroy Sherrier Lewis. The Central Americans lost 1-0 to Costa Rica and drew 0-0 with Guatemala in their opening two games of the Central American Finals in January. They went on to defeat Nicaragua 2-1 to make it through to the semi-finals where they lost 1-0 to Honduras before suffering a defeat by a similar scoreline to El Salvador in the third-place playoff.