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Aurtis Whitley (#9) vs Steven GerrardExperienced midfielder Aurtis Whitley is glad to be back and is hoping to head straight into Trinidad and Tobago ’s starting eleven for Wednesday’s Digicel Caribbean Championships opener against Antigua/Barbuda at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya.
Back from injury, Whitley made his return to the national training set up at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Saturday and says he’s desperate to perform in the red,white and black again. Whitley has missed T&T’s past nine matches dating back to the 1-0 loss to Haiti in August.

“It’s a good feeling to be back out with the national team. Once I fit and healthy it’s something I always want to do – play for the national team,” Whitley told TTFF Media on Saturday.

“I felt good seeing the team do well in the recent matches and now it makes me focused on wanting to be part of things again. I definitely want to play in upcoming World Cup matches and I think these matches in the Digicel competition is going to give me a good chance to settle in again.”

The W Connection man says that the recent injury kept him sidelined for the longest period in his career thus far.

“I haven’t had an injury like this before and it was tough being out for such a long time. These type of things makes you realize too that as time passes you have to take even more care of yourself as a professional athlete. At the time of the injury I felt in good shape and it just came up on me.”

Looking at the composition of the team selected for the matches next week, Whitley feels assured that T&T will progress to the Finals in Jamaica next month.

“There are a couple new faces but overall most of the guys have played at this level and would have come a long way over the past few months as well. I’m not worried about the quality of the team. We have to ensure that we take that on to field and handle our business in the right way,” he added.

The T&T team will train at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Sunday and then move over to the Marvin Lee Stadium on Monday.