He's been privileged to appear in two youth World Cups for Trinidad and Tobago and now this 19-year-old has his sights set on playing in a Senior World Cup for his country.
Daneil Cyrus, a forward turned defender, tells us about his senior international debut for T&T versus Chile earlier this month, why he has an ambition to wear the number 19 shirt and he also voices the need for more for football in Tobago.
1. Tell us what the feeling was like playing for the Senior Team for the first time versus Chile?
Well it’s always been my dream for play for the National Senior Team and so it was a wonderful feeling because I felt like I made my family and hometown proud. It was an occasion I will not forget.
2. Are you excited now about being a regular pick on the Men’s Senior Team?
Making my debut versus Chile was a stepping stone so I’m looking forward to maintaining my spot on the team. I’m happy so far but I would like to keep being happy by working hard and being a permanent member of the squad.
3. How much of an impact has playing in a U17 and U20 World Cup had on you or helped you to become the player you are now?
Well playing in those two junior World Cups showed me where I was at and it gave me an idea of what results were possible through hard work. It also showed me what we as players needed to do to become better to match those players from the more well known countries. I am really happy that I was one of the players who got the chance to experience two World Cups at that level because I think it is a great preparation for playing at the senior level and against higher class opponents.
4. Who is the coach or perhaps coaches who have helped you develop as a player?
The coaches who have helped me to become the player I am for today would have to be James Campbell from the period when I was much younger and Anton Corneal from that time between Under 15 to the Under 17 team. He turned me into a defender because I used to play as a striker and I’m happy for that opportunity he gave me to make the switch. And also Zoran Vranes is helping me at the Under 23 level to try and lift my level.
5. What was it like growing up in Tobago as a young footballer? Was Dwight Yorke constantly on your mind?
Well at first it was hard as a footballer because the opportunities are not as great. If you wanted to reach far then you hard to work three times as hard to make a name for yourself. I grew up hearing about big names like Dwight Yorke especially during his days at Manchester United.
6. Which player caught your eye and inspired you to want to become like that particular player or to at least turn out to be someone easily recognizable on the playing pitch and tell yourself you wanted to be like that player?
The reason I played with the number 19 jersey at the World Cup is because it’s the number that Dwight Yorke plays with and also Keon Daniel had that number. And one day I hope I can play with that number for the senior team.
7. What's your favourite part of Tobago and what local dish waters your mouth?
My hometown Plymouth is my best spot. There is no place better than home. Just going there and liming with the boys on the beach is the best part for me. My favourite dish has to be dasheen and salt fish.
8. What keeps you motivated to keep on striving for better?
My family are my biggest fans. No one in my family has ever reached far in any sports so when I play the game and I see the smiles on their faces, it makes me want to work harder and reach higher. The people on a whole back in Tobago makes me want to work hard and achieve more in the game
9. What overseas League would you like to play in? And why? Have you heard of any interest from a foreign club?
I’m a big fan of Manchester City. I like their style so I’d like to play for them someday if the chance ever came up. But generally, the opportunity play in England would be satisfying for me. So far I haven’t heard anything solid from anyone outside of home.
10. Tell us about your transition as a striker with e Under 17s to being a defender now?
Well I think it was hard at first but being a striker allowed me now to read the game better because I know how a striker sees things and it makes it easier for me to read them (strikers) an how to handle the position. It’s easier to figure out where and when the striker will make the runs and what he would do when the ball is at his feet.
11. Would you be voting on Monday? What do you think the country needs now to improve? What does Tobago need?
No I won’t be voting because I will have to go back to Tobago to do that and it means I may have to miss training or may not be back in time for it. Tobago needs more facilities and more teams to develop the football at a professional level.
12. And finally Daneil, what's your favourite memory as a player so far?
Among my favourite memories so far has to be appearing in the two junior World Cups. But what I love most to this day is standing out there and hearing the national anthem before my senior team. And getting my first cap on that night. I thank God for that.
Thank You and we look forward to seeing you wear the red,white and black with further pride and commitment in the future.