Former Aston Villa and English-based player Jlloyd Samuel is a relieved man that new FIFA rules will allow him to play for Trinidad and Tobago and he has set his sights on being part of Russell Latapy’s team in the very near future.
Samuel, born in San Fernando, wanted to play for T&T at the 2006 World Cup after efforts were made by the TTFF to have him join the squad but FIFA ruled back then that Samuel was too old to be allowed to play for another country as applications could only have been made by players who are under 21. He had also already made seven appearances for England’s National Under 21 team.
Made a regular in the Aston Villa first team by ex-England manager Graham Taylor, his best season, was 2003-2004, as, under newly appointed Villa boss David O’Leary he rose to become one of the best left-backs in the Premiership and was selected in the England squad for the game against Sweden although his involvement only went as far as being an unused substitute.
But today Samuel, now with English Premiership outfit Bolton Wanderers, is looking forward to linking up officially with the “Soca Warriors” and that may happen as early as during next month’s training camp in Scotland.
“It’s a great honour for me to be able to join up with the team in the near future. I was disappointed of the ruling last time but I am very happy to have the second chance to play for my country of birth,” the 28-year-old Samuel told TTFF Media on Thursday.
National team manager David Muhammad said Samuel was eager to join the squad and is likely to be available for selection for the August 12 World Cup qualifier at home to El Salvador. Muhammad noted that there has been no further feedback to date from striker Bobby Zamora while Middlesbrough football club in a response to Muhammad, indicated that right back Justin Hoyte would not be available to play for T&T.
However further efforts are expected to be made directly with the player who made 34 appearances for Arsenal and also appeared for Sunderland in 2005-2006. He also appeared for Englands U-21s. His younger brother Gavin, however could possibly make himself available for the T&T National Under 20 team after responding positively to an inquiry into his availability for the Red, White and Black. Gavin is a member of Arsenal’s Reserves.
Samuel meantime is simply looking forward to putting on T&T colours.
“I have spoken to the manager and I’ve told him how happy and excited I am to join up with the other guys. There are a lot of big name players there and shows that we shall be going in the right direction in making the squad even stronger. Trinidad and Tobago are a very good team and hopefully we can qualify for the World Cup. So when permission is given from my club to join up with T&T I’ll definitely be looking forward to it,” Samuel added.
During his appearance on MTV's Footballers Cribs, Samuel revealed he calls himself 'Sweetboy' and calls his wife Emma Pritchard 'Sweetgirl'. He also has a cat known only as MC Cattybumbum.
Latapy commenced training on Wednesday with a home-based squad at the Larry Gomes Stadium. The team will travel to face St Kitts/Nevis next Sunday after the game was pushed back a week.
Returning to the team after undergoing a hernia operation was W Connection midfielder Clyde Leon while Connection defender Kern Cupid was also recalled. Goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams was also involved and has returned to W Connection for the ongoing season after ending his time in Hungary. The Senior Team leaves next Friday for St Kitts.