After Gibraltar U17’s recent European qualifiers, we caught up with their captain, Shay Jones, to get his thoughts on the tournament and more.
Photo (C) Rough & Ready
Lincoln Red Imps youngster Michael Ruiz is hungry for more after his debut goal against Mons Calpe in May and dreams to be included in the Imps’ 18-man squad for tonight’s Champions League preliminary game against La Fiorita.
Photo – Rough & Ready Media
After the recent international break, we caught up with Lincoln and Gibraltar midfielder Tjay De Barr, who featured for both the U21s and the senior national team in the last few days.
Photo (C) C Correa Photography
Having been in the squad for all three games, De Barr started last night against Russia in the U21 qualifiers, after coming off the bench just over 48 hours before for the national team against Latvia. We asked the 18-year old for his thoughts on the 5-0 defeat against the Russians: “First, I’d like to thank everyone who turned up to support us throughout both games, it’s always better playing with the crowd behind you. My thoughts against Russia, we had a game plan set up by our managers and we tried to stick to it, I think the first 40 minutes of the game was great keeping it 0-0 however we lost focus for whatever reason and they managed to get 2 goals before half time.
In these kind of games, you need to stay focused and concentrated through the whole 93 minutes and if you just drop your heads once they put a goal passed you and I think that’s what happened with us. However, I think the whole team did amazing and everyone gave their 100% so I’m happy with that and obviously it’s always a great feeling knowing everyone is giving their all.”
Originally, De Barr was only meant to be in the U21 squad, but injuries to the main team saw him given a call-up to Desi Curry’s side for the 1-0 win in the friendly international. De Barr, who won the free-kick that lead to Liam Walker’s 88th minute winner, had this to say about his experience in recent days: “The last few days have been great for me. There was three big games being played at the rock and I can admit I was nervous but I loved the feeling of it, I was excited for the first game versus Serbia but for whatever reason I didn’t manage to come on so I was looking towards the next game vs Russia, however then the first team called me up to be part of the squad for the Latvia game. Again same as under 21’s the first team had a plan to do and I think it came out great, being part of it all was amazing for me and making a senior debut here in Gibraltar in front of our home I think personally was the best way to do it, I hope to be able to represent Gibraltar in senior level again or in whichever age group it may be it’s always a privilege to represent your country.”
De Barr is gradually being introduced into his club side, Lincoln, who are dominating the league this season, with the attacking midfielder featuring at some point in 11 league games this season. With the league firmly in Lincoln’s grasp, we asked what his ambitions were at domestic level for the rest of the season: “Now it’s back to the league with Lincoln, I think we need to continue what we are doing, throughout the whole season we’ve been focused, and we need to remain that way. Obviously, I will be looking to win the league first and then the cup but everyone in Lincoln wants our three trophies back.”
Gibraltar’s Under-17 side ended their qualifying campaign with a 3-0 defeat against hosts Liechtenstein.
Goals from Menderes Caglar, Noah Graber and a Max Cottrel own goal mean the team finish bottom of their group, but will have learnt a lot from today’s game, as they plan to move on to bigger matches in the next few years.
This wraps up Gibraltar’s age-group qualifying campaigns for another year, as the next generation of potential Gibraltar stars now go back to developing at their respective clubs in the coming months. With Gibraltar boss Jeff Wood not afraid to select young players, we may see some of the players in action next month earning senior call ups in the next 12 months.