Wed, Jul


hyland1.jpgPortsmouth still keen on 'Warrior'

Nineteen-year-old Trinidad and Tobago footballer Khaleem Hyland is still listed as unemployed, almost eight months after he walked out on Pro League champions Clico San Juan Jabloteh. But British agent Steve Davies insisted that the teenaged international is "destined for big things".

Only a work permit stands in the way of Hyland's proposed move to England Premier League club, Portsmouth, and, although there is no guarantee that the midfielder would satisfy the British Home Office before the start of the 2008/09 season, Davies is certain that his entrance in the Premiership is a matter of when rather than if.

"The kid is going to play in the Premiership," said Davies, who also represents 2006 World Cup defender Brent Sancho. "He is an exceptional talent and is destined for big things. Portsmouth have a four year contract on the table and it is a very, very good contract."

Hyland failed to satisfy the criteria for a work permit because of Trinidad and Tobago 's low present global ranking, which the Home Office believes indicate that the foreigner does not have sufficient quality to be allowed to displace a British player.

Portsmouth have lodged an appeal and, on Monday, Davies will be given a date for their hearing. If the appeal fails, Hyland must wait six months before he can reapply.

Sheffield United failed to secure a work permit for Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams last month and sent him out on loan in the Hungarian Second Division until they can try again. There is a similar arrangement in place for former national youth team players Aaron Downing and Matthew Bartholomew who, like Williams, are former W Connection employees and were farmed out by Sheffield.

Davies suggested that Hyland could end up temporarily plying his trade in Belgium if his appeal is unsuccessful.

"We are hopeful about the appeal," said Davies, "but failing that they will still sign him and send him on loan to Belgium until he meets the requirements. If Trinidad (and Tobago ) does well in the (2010 World Cup) qualifiers then, at the latest, he should be a Premiership player by Christmas."

Hyland has not played a competitive club match since leaving Jabloteh last December. Davies explained that he remained inactive this year, apart from international duty, in an effort to avoid complications for his proposed Portsmouth move as well as to lessen the risk of injury.

"If he had played (for a Pro League team), his club might have wanted compensation and he could have gotten injured," said Davies. "God forbid he broke his leg with a (Premiership) contract on the table."

If Hyland's Premiership move goes through, he would be the second "Soca Warrior" to represent Portsmouth after retired goalkeeper and local Hall of Famer Shaka Hislop who was on board when the club won promotion to England's top flight. At present, the Sunderland trio of Dwight Yorke, Kenwyne Jones and Carlos Edwards represent the twin island republic in one of Europe 's most successful and profitable leagues.

The 2006/07 season was the only term that Trinidad and Tobago were not represented in the Premiership since its inception in 1992. Hyland should join a distinguished line of local exports to the Premier League that includes Clint Marcelle (the present Economy North East Stars coach), Stern John, Yorke, Jones, Edwards and Hislop.

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp is no stranger to T&T players as he managed Hislop at West Ham and Portsmouth and gave Jones his Premier League debut at Southampton . Davies hopes that Hyland would soon have the benefit of his tutelage.