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Dantaye Gilbert (left) and Nathaniel James (right) at a Trinidad and Tobago training session ahead of 2026 World Cup Qualifiers against Grenada and Bahamas.

UNCAPPED Dantaye Gilbert is relishing the opportunity to wear the national colours, saying it has been a long time coming. The midfielder earned his first call-up to the national men's senior football team for two 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Grenada and Bahamas.

The match against Grenada will be played at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, on June 5 from 7.30 pm, before T&T travel to play Bahamas on June 8 at 5.30 pm.

Gilbert, 19, is based in the Netherlands where he plays for Jong PSV, the reserve team for Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven. He is one of three uncapped players in the squad along with Steffen Yeates and Tyrese Spicer.

"It is always an honour to represent my country," Gilbert told T&T Football Association media. "When the coach (Angus Eve) first reached out to me and I was on the provisional list, I was really excited about the possibility of being on the final 25-man squad. I am really happy to be here."

Gilbert said he has been hoping the day would come where he would earn a call-up. "I am really confident and eager to be performing for my country. It has been a long time waiting and I can't wait for this moment."

He is anticipating reconnecting with striker Nathaniel James, whom he has been playing alongside since the under-13 level.

"Me and Nathaniel have been good friends since youth development – under-13. The last time we played together (at) under-15 we ended the tournament joint top scorer, so being here with him again is truly a blessing and to have such a good friend in the camp with me first time coming in is really a good feeling."

Gilbert said all his T&T team-mates have embraced him.

"As soon as I came here everyone welcomed me with open arms. I knew a lot of the guys before from being around and so far it has been really good, I must say."

Discussing his experience playing in The Netherlands since September, Gilbert said, "It is not easy at the start. I just had to keep focused. I had close people around me – believing in God was a serious thing for me, and we see what you can do when you are really confident and you go after what you really want."

The Dutch club has treated him like family, Gilbert said. "They really treat you like the prize. They make it known that they are there for you, anything that you need, anything you want, anything that they can assist with to make you perform at the highest level.

"This really helps you mentally as a player to know that you have the support behind you. It gives that type of courage to want to go out there and work for the badge. It is a good feeling."

SOURCE: T&T Newsday