Sol Campbell was on the substitutes bench when T&T faced England at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. So he knows a bit about this country’s football and that day was perhaps the first time he came within close range of Dennis Lawrence.
Almost 11 years later the two will be working together to try and take T&T to the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia.
Campbell said this week that the strong passion for the game in T&T was a factor in his decision to accept the offer from Lawrence.
“Obviously I knew about T&T from the World Cup in 2006 when they faced England,” Campbell said.
“The passion, eagerness and willingness to do the right things to win is what I feel when I think about Trinidad and Tobago. My family is from Jamaica so I know there is cricket there also. But to me to be a part of a country where football passion runs deep in the society, is something important.
“International football is a big, big challenge and I’m ready for that. As long as the players respond to Dennis and see that this is the way to go then we will definitely be going in the right direction. You need discipline, you need structure and you need a bit of flamboyance in the right areas and I believe Dennis will bring that,” said Campbell whose first name is Sulzeer.
“Trinidad wasn’t really on my mind. I wasn’t thinking Caribbean but that sometimes happen when you’re not thinking about it the opportunity comes knocking and I’m very happy to be able to take it up now. I really appreciate it and I love that,” the ex-Arsenal player added.
He mentioned that former Arsenal team-mate Patrick Vieira was among the first to call and congratulate him on the new job with T&T. Vieira’s wife is Trinidadian.
Campbell also holds a UEFA Pro License badge. The 42-year-old played for England from the Under 15 level straight through to the senior team, for which he made 73 appearances. He played 255 games for Tottenham Hotspur and 135 for Arsenal, also appearing for Portsmouth, Notts County before ending his club career at Newcastle United in 2011.