Wrong move ?
Clico San Juan Jabloteh coach and former Tottenham Hotspurs captain Terry Fenwick said yesterday that Trinidad and Tobago star striker Kenwyne Jones should have jumped at the opportunity to join the London-based club and suggested his agent might have missed a trick.
Fenwick, who supported his hometown club, Sunderland, as a boy but spent most of his professional career with London clubs, felt Jones might have benefitted from being more ruthless.
"I don't know the details of his new contract but, looking from the outside, Spurs are the bigger club," said the former England World Cup player. "He would have moved to a bigger team with bigger opportunities and a manager (Harry Redknapp) who he worked with before. So I think that moving to London would have given him a bigger profile altogether
"I am sure it is a big contract he signed with Sunderland. But whatever they offered, I am sure Tottenham could have done better."
Fenwick wondered whether Jones' agent might have acted prematurely in agreeing a new contract. He insisted that the only consideration should have been the future of the former St Anthony's College student.
"I think his agent should have been holding out for the right deal," said Fenwick. "Anywhere in the world, his agent would have been working his tail off to get him to somewhere bigger and better. Loyalty does not come into (it) because he has to look after his future.
"God forbid Sunderland got relegated, although I don't think they will, where would that put him? This might sound harsh to my hometown club but I don't (think) they will ever be on the same street as Tottenham."
But former 2006 World Cup goalkeeper and Football Players Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT) interim president Shaka Hislop felt there were compelling reasons for Jones to stay put and backed his decision.
Hislop played in England's North-east with Newcastle United and also for London club, West Ham, and figures that Jones may already be where he needs to be at this stage of his career.
"As long as Kenwyne is confident that Sunderland's ambitions meet his own then I see no problem," said Hislop. "Sunderland is a big, well supported club and Kenwyne knows and understands that he is young and still growing in the game. Sunderland will give him the opportunity to do that."
Hislop played for Tottenham boss, Redknapp, at Portsmouth and West Ham but feels that Jones might develop more alongside his Sunderland teammates like France international Djibril Cisse and Trinidad and Tobago captain Dwight Yorke.
"If you jump too early, it can be detrimental," said Hislop. "And Tottenham are in an even more precarious position than Sunderland anyway. So I think his decision is understandable."
W. Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier, who was Jones' first professional coach, felt the striker might not be ready for the added pressure of a high-profile club like Tottenham where he may not be guaranteed playing time. He suggested that Jones, who joined Sunderland under previous manager Roy Keane in 2007, might be better prepared for such a move in two or three years.
"At the moment, Sunderland is building their attack around him so staying should mean he will get guaranteed playing time," said Fevrier, "as opposed to a big club where there will be much more competition to play... Give him another two years experience and he will be ready and more mature to shoulder the responsibility of playing for a bigger club."
Jones, who scored his eighth goal of the season in a 1-0 win over Fulham on Tuesday night, is contracted to Sunderland until 2013. At present, he shares the training ground with another St Anthony's past pupil and compatriot, Carlos Edwards, while national captain, Yorke, is also the club's assistant coach.