Reid says Jamaicans have bought into Hallgrimsson philosophy and are ready for US

June 23 – Ahead of the Gold Cup’s opening match with hosts the United States, Jamaican forward Bobby Reid has said the Reggae Boyz have bought into the philosophy of their Icelandic coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, who believes his team can do “something big”.

The Jamaicans have a strong record in the Gold Cup, reaching the final of the tournament in 2015 and 2017 to finish runners-up and in the last edition, they were eliminated in the last eight by the United States, the Reggae Boyz’s opponents in Saturday’s opener at Soldier Field.

Reid, who plies his trade for Fulham in England, believes that his team is ready to excel, not in a small part because of what Hallgrimsson brings to the team.

“They believe in us, they see the talent we have and they think we can do big things,” said Reid at a news conference. “We understand what they want and we understand it’s a game of team spirit. It’s a team effort that will ultimately give us a great chance of doing something big. We want to be the best we can be.”

“Having the same squad and the players playing together for a long period of time.  I think we are getting to that stage now of obviously being in each other’s company.  We have all bought into the manager’s philosophy and what he wants to do.”

If Reid emphasised that improvement was a process “step by step”, Hallgrimsson quipped that it was an unfair question to ask the player why he had bought into his philosophy with the coach sitting next to him during the news conference.

However, Reid’s words will have come as a boost to the Icelandic coach. He arrived in the second half of 2022 in Kingston but Hallgrimsson’s record with Jamaica has been poor. The Jamaicans haven’t won a single match in 2023 and at a recent training camp in Austria, they lost to both Qatar and Jordan.

Hallgrimsson can count on six Premier League players in his squad, including Demarai Gray who switched his international allegiance from England, and 22-year-old Dujuan Richards of Manchester United. Richards featured against both Qatar and Jordan. US interim coach B.J. Callaghan called his side “the most talented Jamaica we have faced”.

Describing himself as a “realistic optimistic,” Hallgrimsson said: “Nobody is hiding behind that fact that Jamaica has had really good individuals. In the past, the problem has been to make a good team out of good individuals. I have managed in my career to make teams, underdog teams, perform pretty well. The kind of  long-term project is to get Jamaica into the World Cup, but this is a good opportunity for us to just see where we stand at this moment.”

Jamaica are considered among the top contenders at this Gold Cup, but Hallgrimsson downplayed those notions, preferring to focus on the imminent match with the United States.

Listing their virtues and the task ahead of his team, he said: “First and foremost, they are coming in as Nations League champions. They are playing at home all the matches now in the Gold Cup, so that is an advantage. I don’t think their philosophy of playing will change in these few days, even though the squad is a little bit different from the Nations League.

“They will play an aggressive 4-3-3 – impressive in the World Cup, and impressive in the Nations League. They have all their players now in mid-season, so they are fit. We know what we will be facing – a really young, energetic, mobile team that will try to go high on the pitch and kind of suffocate us in the build-up.”

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1713943638labto1713943638ofdlr1713943638owedi1713943638sni@i1713943638tnuk.1713943638ardni1713943638mas1713943638



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