Ahead of the national team’s upcoming international double-header against Liechtenstein and Latvia, we caught up with national manager Jeff Wood as he gave us his thoughts on player selection, the upcoming games and the importance of support for team. Continue reading
Gibraltar manager Jeff Wood has announced a preliminary 27-man squad for the last two qualifiers, against Georgia and Scotland.
There are no massive shocks in the squad, with Scunthorpe’s Scott Wiseman having missed the last three weeks of club football as he continues to recover from the injury he suffered while still at Preston. The full back completed 90 minutes of football last night for the first time since early August though, and hopefully is well on the way to a full recovery.
Shaw Lane Aquaforce striker Adam Priestley fails to make the squad once again, after Jeff Wood cited fitness concerns with the former Farsley striker, but there is a return to the national squad for Lincoln striker George Cabrera, a mainstay of the national team in the pre-UEFA days. Cabrera spent practically all of last season injured, and will have to battle to make the final 23-man squad.
The midfield is packed with familiar faces to fans of Gibraltarian football, and barring injury the likes of Liam Walker, Jake Gosling and Anthony Bardon will be guaranteed a place in the final 23. Lincoln midfielder Bardon is carrying a knock, but is expected to return to club football this weekend and should be fit enough for a place in the squad.
The non-inclusion of Wiseman may raise some eyebrows, but with these being the final two games, and the full-back clearly not at full fitness, Wood may have decided to allow another player the chance to show what he can do, especially as the team looks to develop for future matches. With only eight defenders chosen, it could be the case that they all make the final 23-man squad, and at most one players may be dropped when the squad is trimmed before the two games.
As for the goalkeepers, Jordan Perez and Jamie Robba are certainties when picking a national squad. With the third choice goalkeeper often going to a younger keeper, Liam Neale is likely to make most of the upcoming squads, with the Gibraltar United keeper highly thought of by many in local football.
With the Under 19’s away in France on their own qualifying duty next month, some of the youngsters who Wood may have wanted to look at will instead be away gaining valuable experience against the hosts, Netherlands and Liechtenstein.
Goalkeepers: Jordan Perez, Jamie Robba, Liam Neale
Defenders: Roy Chipolina, Joseph Chipolina, Ryan Casciaro, JC Garcia, Jack Sergeant, Justin Rovegno, Erin Barnett, Jamie Bosio
Midfielders: Liam Walker, Anthony Bardon, Jake Gosling, Aaron Payas, Jeremy Lopez, Jesse Victory, Robert Guilling, Brian Perez, Liam Clarke
Attackers: Lee Casciaro, Kyle Casciaro, JP Duarte, Mikey Yome, Jamie Coombes, George Cabrera, Evan Green