Everton winger Demarai Gray could be a Reggae Boy in time for Gold Cup. "The coach is working hard to get him," says JFF president

By April 27, 2023
Gray could be wearing Jamaican colours in mere weeks. Gray could be wearing Jamaican colours in mere weeks.

Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts has hinted that Everton winger Demarai Gray is inching ever closer to becoming a Reggae Boy citing that Head Coach Heimir Hallgrimsson is fond of the player, who has been on the federation’s radar for the past few years.

It was in March 2021, that Ricketts in an interview indicated that the now 26-year-old Gray was among several English players who were in the process of acquiring their Jamaican passports. The federation had hoped that the player would have been able to join the national programme in time for the qualification matches for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar but that did not happen.

However, while responding to questions at a JFF press conference on Wednesday to announce new and returning sponsors and the launch of the federation’s new website, Ricketts, while coy, indicated that with regards to Gray, things were moving in a positive direction.

“I don’t want to speak too much on it because his parents really don’t want us to but we are making some progress,” he said. “What I can say is that the coach is very optimistic, the coach likes him and the coach is working hard to ensure that he gets him in his programme.”

Ricketts revealed that if all goes according to plan, Gray could be suited in Jamaican colours in time for the CONCACAF Gold Cup set to get underway in June. Jamaica opens its campaign against defending champions, the United States of America on June 24.

However, Gray is not the only player being targeted by the JFF. According to Ricketts, the Jamaican head coach already has an idea of what players will make up his squad for the Gold Cup, which might include some new players based overseas.

“Based on discussions that I would have had with Coach Hallgrimsson, he is very excited. In fact, he has some young players on his radar that he is very excited about and, of course, he said to me after the Mexico game (in March) he was convinced about what the nucleus of his team will be,” Ricketts revealed.

“But there are some overseas-based players and we have asked Simon (Preston) to work closely with Coach Hallgrimsson to identify some of these young players.” Preston, a former sports anchor at Television Jamaica (TVJ), is working with the JFF in the capacity of media liaison and analyst.

Hallgrimsson is currently in England meeting with a number of players whom he would like to be part of the rebuilding of the Reggae Boyz squad. The head coach reportedly made trips to the USA and then to his home country of Iceland before travelling to England.

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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