CHICAGO, IL, Sporting Alert – Wes Morgan starts on the bench for Jamaica in its opening game of the 2016 Copa America against Venezuela in Group C, at Soldier Field in Chicago this evening (5).
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Morgan, who just came off a successful campaign with Leicester City where he skippered them to the English Premier League title this season, said before the game that he would have a chat with national coach Winfried Schaefer to see whether he’s ready to start.
And as we can see, the star center-back is only on the bench, as Adrian Mariappa and Kemar Lawrence pair off in the heart of the backline and will be joined by Jermaine Taylor and Je-Vaughn Watson in the back four.
Meanwhile, despite declaring himself fit to start, striker Joel Grant has to start this one on the bench, with Giles Barnes leading the attacking line with the supporting cast of Garath McCleary and Clayton Donaldson.
Grant, who scored the winner in the friendly against Chile, is a late call-up for the injured Simon Dawkins, but he said he’s ready to go.
“I kept myself conditioned,” he said. “With last week’s game and some training, I’ll be ready for the tournament.”
Michael Hector, Jobi McAnuff and Rodolph Austin all start as well.
West Bromwich forward Salomon Rondon is among the highlighted starters for Venezuela, with Roberto Rosales, Luis Seijas, Arquimedes Figuera, Tomás Rincón and Josef Martinez also in the lineup.
Jamaica will seek to get off to a positive start at the tournament against Venezuela, which on paper, is one of the weaker teams in a very tough Group C.
The Reggae Boyz will also play against Mexico and Uruguay in the group and a defeat to Venezuela in the opener could make life difficult for the Caribbean men.
Jamaica struggled to score goals in the previous appearance at the Copa America last year in Chile, and went out of the competition in the group stage.
However, Schaefer believes his team, which improved to make the final of the Gold Cup weeks later, used the tournament to build valuable experience for moments like these.
Jamaica: Andre Blake, Jermaine Taylor, Adrian Mariappa, Kemar Lawrence, Je-Vaughn Watson, Michael Hector, Jobi McAnuff, Rodolph Austin, Garath McCleary, Giles Barnes, Clayton Donaldson
Venezuela: Daniel Hernandez, Wilker Ángel, Oswaldo Vizcarrondo, Rolf Feltscher, Roberto Rosales, Luis Seijas, Arquimedes Figuera, Tomás Rincón, Salomon Rondon, Josef Martinez, Alejandro Guerra