New Luton Town signee Carlos Edwards touched down in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday all eager to get his first taste of the region’s prestigious international tournament scheduled to kick off at the Orange Bowl Stadium next Wednesday.
Despite being a member of the T&T senior team since 1999, Edwards has never been in a team taking part in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and is hoping to obviously exhibit the progress made by himself in England over the period spent with Wrexham.
But the former St Anthony’s College boy is here with a bigger stripe on his shoulders having just been unveiled as Luton’s newest player expected to play an integral part in the English Championship next season after recently gaining promotion.
Earlier on Tuesday, coach Leo Beenhakker had his “Warriors” out on the training pitch from 9am under rainy conditions but the plush surface was in fact a part of paradise for Marvin Andrews and company. At least it was not a bad day for Andrews who has continued to be harassed by the Scottish media on his decision to join the T&T team for the Gold Cup rather than rest and join Glasgow Rangers for their preseason campaign. The day’s lunch and dinner meals was also more appealing to the “Warriors” after the kind Hilton chefs gave an unsuccessful try at curried-style chicken in hope of making the visitors feel at home on their first day at the hotel on Monday. Aside from that, the rest of the services and facilities has been just what the Dutchman ordered.
Several of the men in Beenhakker’s squad have been caught up in club business over the recent weeks but the Dutch-born coach says he knows how to ensure that they are properly focused on the Gold Cup. Brent Sancho arrived from a trip which included rehab treatment on a hamstring injury in Australia and is yet to confirm a new club deal while Brent Rahim, Kelvin Jack, Shaka Hislop and to a lesser extent Jason Scotland have not yet ironed out their plans for the new season.
“It’s all part of football but they are all professionals and we know exactly how to deal with it. A lot of people have talked about how important the Gold Cup is for us in preparations for the remaining World Cup matches but I disagree with that,” Beenhakker told TTFF Media. “I think we are here as a team to get on with the football whether it’s Gold Cup or World Cup. We are here to try and do our best and win the tournament. The World Cup is something else and we will of course try to do better things as a team as these couple weeks go on.”
He made mention that the new faces in his team like Silvio Spann, a player he has seen only on video, as well as Scotland, Samuel and Cyd Gray will all have the chance to add something to the team and this means also in training and not just on the pitch during an actual encounter.
As for Edwards, he expects to fit back in smoothly into the set up following his performances against Panama and Mexico.
“It’s always a big occasion when you come back to be with the national team and especially as it’s a training camp for the Gold Cup, I don’t have a problem having to come out here and train. I think the idea of coming here in Miami for a camp a week before our first game was also a good one and I am pretty sure it will go a long way in our attempts to get better as a team,” the Luton Town man said.
Goalkeeper Shaka Hislop is scheduled to arrive here on Wednesday and will be last player to join the camp after being allowed some time to conduct some personal business regarding his professional career. T&T kick off their campaign against Honduras next Wednesday at the Orange Bowl Stadium, Miami.