Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Aurtis Whitley says he’s eying a return to the National Senior Team and is relishing the chance to play under recently appointed head coach Russell Latapy, the man he made way for at the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany.
Sidelined by injury and fitness problems last year, Whitley made a return during the Digicel Caribbean Championships in Jamaica but hasn’t featured since. He is also coming off surgery to repair a damaged cartilage. But Whitley has returned to the training pitch and has signed on to play for United Petrotrin for the 2009 season. He says he could be back to playing within the next month.
“Right now I’m back training and I’m hoping to get some playing time in some of the warm up games Petrotrin has coming up. The rest of the team is in Tobago at the moment but I remained home to further my therapy and to do some extra work,” Whitley told TTFF Media.
“My main focus at the moment is to get back on the national team because I think I can put my best foot forward and add something. Hopefully Russell will give me that chance. I think now we are in a similar position to the last campaign and that is when we really saw the best team come out and play the kind of football that we needed for qualification.
“Last time during that period I felt I was at the top of my game and I really tried to give my best in the last set of qualifying matches. I feel that if I can get the chance again then maybe I can bring something extra and join up with the rest of players to help us play the best football possible,” Whitley added.
The ex –Jabloteh and W Connection midfielder voiced his support towards Latapy.
“He should know the players better than anyone right now because he has played with them and in his position right now as coach I think he can give us that extra bit that we need to play the football that will get us the results.
Maturana wasn’t bad but he wasn’t getting the results but I believe that once we get the right kind of preparations then the team can rise again,” Whitley said. Latapy is expected to resume training with a locally-based team within the coming week.