Trinidad and Tobago Senior Team goalkeeper Marvin Phillip is attributing a new environment and proper advice for his change in attitude towards becoming a constantly improving player both at the professional and international level.
Phillip was rock solid in goal for T&T in Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with El Salvador, one particular save being a reflex push over bar from point blank range late in the second half which ensured T&T came away with something from the encounter.
Phillip has had disciplinary issues in the past, most notably being a ban for violent and improper conduct and abusive language towards a referee in a Pro League game on October 3, 2004. The 23-year-old was banned for 20 months but the sideline was subsequently reduced after the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation reviewed the facts and circumstances of the occurrence.
Phillips, T&T’s starting goalie at the FIFA Under 17 World Championship in 2001 had before that switched from striker to goalkeeper after being asked to be a last minute replacement in goal for Ecclesville FC. Now he’s one of T&T’s goal guards at the senior international level. He’s also an ex player with CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh, Starworld Strikers, Defence Force and North East Stars.
But he hasn’t been a regular starter though for the senior team, being number two to Jan Michael Williams, a player who was second to him at the youth level. But Phillips, formerly of Tabaquite Composite, Presentation College, San Fernando and Princes Town Senior Comprehensive is determined to keep his place on the national team and that could present healthy competition for the position in goal for the senior team.
He feels that the environment at new club W Connection has a played a part towards his mental growth. And of course he is thankful to TTFF and Senior Team goalkeeping coach Michael Maurice for his assistance.
“Being out for a little while, being second to Jan Michael, I was pretty pleased with this performance and if I continue this way… I think there will be better things to come. Overall we worked hard towards it on Wednesday. Even in the sessions in Trinidad, the coach was always hard on our backs (saying) we need to work harder and play at a high intensity.
“Basically the environment I am in now... they are helping me towards (that change), telling me I have a bright future ahead of me and I need to cool down my temperament. About a year ago I was also in some temperamental classes which helped me. The W Connection environment is good and I’m very comfortable there and that has me (towards) behaving this way now.”
And when things get tough again, Phillips is prepared for it. “That’s why I was in the classes so I know how to deal with the situations now,” Phillips said.
“My main ambition is to stay on the national team and get a contract outside. Once I keep on working hard… nothing is impossible. I have been working with Michael Maurice since Under 17 days and the coaching from him has been very good and I want to continue working with him to improve my technique,” Phillips ended.
W Connection president David John Williams said his club was pleased with Phillip’s progress. “We have addressed his situation. He has a future in the game and he came into a no-nonsense environment that cares about the players. He sees himself in a more responsible manner now after the win in the FCB Cup and that has helped him to make a positive turn. If he’s not picked… he is told why and is beginning to understand things better now. He knows clearly too that the coach (Stuart Charles Fevrier) is a no-nonsense coach. We welcomed him into an environment that is strict but also cares about the player,” Williams noted.