Shortly after Jeff Wood announced his preliminary 29-man squad for Bosnia, we caught up with the Gibraltar manager as he spoke about his team selection ahead of the World Cup Qualifier.
Wood on Jamie Coombes, “Jamie is now playing in Wales on a regular basis with FC Undy, they are a Second Division side in Wales and I get a match report from the manager every week. He is training hard and playing every week so he deserves his inclusion.”
Wood on how the experience of the older players benefits the squad, “We’ve said it before in press conference that when we select the squad, that I think it motivates the older players to up their game when they know that the younger ones are coming in behind them and they’ve got the motivation to take those places. We know that Roy, Lee, Ryan and Kyle are the best players but we need those younger players coming in behind them and they are all going to continue to play a big part in the foreseeable future but we need that competition for places and bigger pool of players to select from.
Wood on Paul Podesta inclusion, “Paul is a versatile player and does give us an option seeing as we’ve had the problem with Adam Priestly being injured, he went on loan from Alfreton to Frickely then got injured again and missed the last few games so he isn’t 100% fit to be in this squad so we needed an option for Adam.”
Wood on Wiseman, Priestly & Gosling, “It is very difficult to call them up if they are not playing week in week out and there’s other issues with Adam, Scott & Jake because of contract situations with their clubs.”
Wood on the inclusion of Jason Pusey, “We know what a good player Jason is. This season he’s come back with a positive attitude, he looks really fit and he’s played nearly every game for Gibraltar United so he thoroughly deserves his call-up.”
Wood on Jamie Robba, “Jamie has come back and is playing at very well for St Joseph’s. Another one who thoroughly deserves his call-up, we all know how good of a keeper Jamie is but its difficult when you’re not playing like him in the UK with Torquay for 3-4 months then to suddenly come into national football, its very difficult.
Wood on the squad as a whole, “This is one of the best sides I’ve picked, it’s great to see everyone playing like the younger players that have gone out on loan and are now playing week in week out. Like I said earlier, the senior players are still the best players and they are playing week in week out and the players abroad like jamie Coombes & Mikey Yome are playing regularly also.
Wood on Leon Clinton, “It’s a difficult one with Leon because he doesn’t really play regularly. He doesn’t start games and comes on for ten minutes, thirty seconds or two minutes so its a difficult scenario for Leon.”
Wood on the U21’s, “They play in June, this is preparation time for some of the players who are in the squad and it’ll give them a taste of senior international football. They’ll be working with the senior players with a view to June when they go off to play in the Euro Qualifiers. All the young players will be in contention and whether they are playing in the Premier or Second Division, they have an opportunity to play for the national side.