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Whitmore says England trip opened his eyes

...Happy with Boyz mid-morning training session in Curacao yesterday

Saturday, October 13, 2018

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao — Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore says his recent trip to England was both productive and enlightening.  
The Reggae Boyz head coach told the Jamaica Observer that he was able to meet with a number of prospective players, plus he attended an educational seminar that reflected on Russia 2018.
“I don't want to say much now until I have had a chance to speak with the JFF (Jamaica football Federation) president (Michael Ricketts) and the general secretary (Dalton Wint).
“But what I can say is that the trip was a very fruitful one in terms of meeting with a couple of players who have shown an interest in representing the national team, but I want to make clear it was not a case where we went to England looking for players,” Whitmore said.
When asked about the England-born Lazio midfielder Ravel Morrison in particular, Whitmore said: “I prefer to talk about the players who are here with us… for some reason he is not here with us, and when the time comes he will be included.”
Morrison, 25, recently had a loan spell with Mexico's Club Atlas, but has since rejoined his Serie A outfit. Morrison, who started his professional career at Manchester United, has had stints at West Ham, Birmingham City, Queen's Park Rangers and Cardiff City.
He also represented England at the youth level starting at Under-16 through to Under-21.
Meanwhile, Whitmore said the Fifa Football Analysis-Russia 2018 forum, held in London, and attended by himself and technical director Wendell Downswell, was an eye-opener.
“It is just for people to understand that the football has evolved and we have to take a different approach. What really struck me most of all is when you sit and listen to a Didier Deschamps, the World Cup champion and the coach of the year.
“When you look at the statistics of the French team, what they have done in the World Cup and came out winners, then you realise where the football really is. In the stats the French team had less possession, in fact, less everything, and yet they came out on top,” Whitmore reflected.
The France 1998 Jamaica star suggested that his country could learn a lot from the French experience, rather than focusing on approaches that are not necessarily in keeping with the drift of the modern game.
 “We sit here and talk about style of play and philosophy, it wasn't so for the French team… it was not about keeping possession, it was more how quickly they can get into the opponents' third of the field and finishing.
“But over time we will get a better understanding of where the football is and where it is going, than me sitting here talking,” said Whitmore, who wrote his name in history with two goals for Jamaica in a 2-1 win over Japan in France '98.
It was at that very World Cup at which France won their first title, with Deschamps as captain. The French man was elevated into a privileged class of individuals who have won the World Cup as player and later as coach, when he led Les Blues to their second title in July.
The others are Brazil's Mario Zagallo and German  Franz Beckenbauer, who won the final as a player and manager.
Zagallo won the World Cup as a player twice with Brazil —in his first victory in 1958, and again in 1962. As a manager, Zagallo captured his third victory in 1970 over Italy.
In 1974 Beckenbauer won the World Cup as a player for West Germany on home turf. He would return as coach to win in 1990 in Italy.
Meanwhile, Whitmore, who is preparing Jamaica to face Bonaire in their Concacaf Nations League game here tomorrow, said he was pleased with yesterday's first training session at Maduro & Curieli's Bank Park.
The mid-morning session, which involved a two-team scrimmage and an intense shooting drill in the main, “went to plan”.
“I am very pleased with how it (training session) worked out, not having any injuries, and I thought we got through it and what we wanted to achieve,” Whitmore said.
— Sean Williams