UK-based national striker Kenwyne Jones is hoping to take his rich goal-scoring form into Trinidad and Tobago's 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
The Stoke City front-man overcame a slow start to the year with a scoring hot streak towards the back end of the 2010-2011 English season to finish as the club's top scorer in all competitions with 12 goals--nine in the Premier League, two in the League Cup and one in the semi-final of the FA Cup.
"I'm always excited about coming and play for T&T, it's where I was born, it was always a dream of mine to play for the country and I plan to do so until that day I retire," said the soft-spoken 6" 2' striker during an interview at the VIP Lounge at Hasely Crawford Stadium on Saturday.
Jones, who at the time was being unveiled as a Guinness sports ambassador, said running out on the hallowed Wembley Stadium turf for the 2011 FA Cup Final against Manchester City on May 14 was the highlight of his season and revealed a pre-game call from ex-national skipper Dwight Yorke helped ease his nerves before kick-off.
"I think it's every footballer's dream to be in a final like that. I spoke to Dwight and he offered congratulations on it and said he hoped I did well. He's been there and played in a few finals but for me it was my first time and he was all about just reassuring my confidence going into the game and ensuring I did my best."
But Stoke's FA Cup dream was crushed by a decisive late strike by Yaya Toure.
"It was devastating, but we had two matches coming up in quick succession so we had to straight away get back on it and try and get ready for the next match so we didn't really have time to take it in," he said.
Jones, rated by none other than England international defender John Terry as the best striker he has faced in the air, has now fixed his sights on the CONCACAF 2014 World Cup qualifiers and says he's prepared to play whatever role new national head coach Otto Pfister demands of him.
"That was a few years ago, after this year he (Terry) probably has a new terminology for me, but seriously, I see myself coming back to the (national) team, flowing into the team and leading the team to greater heights. "Hopefully, we will be able to qualify (for Brazil), we're starting afresh again so hopefully over the course of the qualifiers, training and friendlies we will be able to gel."
Jones talked optimistically about Pfister's appointment as the German sat quietly towards the back of the VIP Lounge looking on at proceedings.
"The coach has to come in immediately and do a job. He doesn't have the time to sift through the pros at home, he has to do the job he was brought to do now, so him going out and looking for players in the US and UK shows he's looking for players at that level and we know the Pro League is not up to that standard as yet," Jones explained.
Looking long term, however, Jones said the future of Trinidad and Tobago football lies on these shores as he believes our best players are yet to be unearthed right in our back yard.
"The best players will shine their way through. We have a lot of young players and it's up to T&T to produce the next generation for 2018 and beyond," he concluded.