Tue, Jun

Twenty-year-old Trinidad and Tobago international Kenwyne Jones ended his two-month loan spell with English League One club, Sheffield Wednesday, on Saturday afternoon in an affair that summarised the division.

The Bournemouth Stadium was almost filled to capacity yet their intake was 8,847 spectators-less than any of Trinidad and Tobago's five major stadiums.

Bournemouth's home ground, named the Fitness First Stadium, after its main sponsor, consists of just three single tier stands.

An array of giant billboards stood behind another goalpost as a more visible reminder of the strong capitalist interests that have overtaken the British game.

The lower the division, the more desperate the club directors and brazen the sponsors.

Little television revenue seeps through the English Premiership to these parts and clubs survive however they can.

The encounter between Bournemouth and Wednesday, which ended in a 1-1 tie, was as competitive a game as you might see in the top flight with tasty extras like a referee with a blind eye to violence, an equaliser in the last minute of added on time and a mini-pitch invasion.

Frills such as technique, craft and imagination were in short supply though.

This is the division in which Jones made such an immediate and telling impact with seven goals in as many matches that one English newspaper described him as "the new James Beattie" after Everton's new centre forward and record signing who is also capped for England.

It is excessive praise if only because James Beattie, who was sold by Southampton for £6 million two weeks ago, did not earn his reputation by terrifying lower league opposition.

Yet, if Trinidad and Tobago football fans are excited, they have every right to be so. Lest we forget, Jones' tally in two months is two goals more than Wrexham striker Hector Sam's league returns this season.

The same Sam who saved Trinidad and Tobago national coach Bertille St Clair's blushes with a fine equaliser at home to St Vincent and the Grenadines last November in a World Cup qualifier that the "Soca Warriors" went on to win 2-1.

Sam's Wrexham teammates, Carlos Edwards and Dennis Lawrence, are also national regulars who earn their living at this level while present team captain Angus Eve still won international caps while playing for Chester City in the more modest Division Three.

But what should St Clair make of the fact that his wingback is doing a plausible impression of a centre forward?

I would imagine that the request for some video footage would be a good place to start. For football fans that are not so fortunate, I can assure you the potential is real though still raw.

Jones made minimal impact in the first half of Saturday's encounter. There was the odd chase of an advancing Bournemouth full back but generally he settled for token efforts at closing down opposing defenders.

He also showed little appreciation for the 10-yard sprints that win space from defensive markers and give an outlet to one's midfielders although, in Jones' defence, his teammates seemed hell-bent on forcing play down the flanks in any case.

Yet, Jones showed an impressive vertical leap that worried the Bournemouth defenders no end and always looked a genuine threat from crosses.

A halftime tongue lashing from Wednesday manager Paul Sturrock, who lists a stint at Southampton and a successful promotion chase from this division with Plymouth among his accomplishments, invigorated the former St Anthony's College stand-out and he was better after the break.

He dropped off his markers to effectively link up play with his midfielders and there was one swivel and blast with his left boot at the edge of the area that would have won applause from a clever exponent of the art and compatriot Stern John, Trinidad and Tobago's once irreplaceable striker.

Jones was also inches away from the goal with a firm header that beat the Bournemouth goalkeeper and showed good awareness around the opposing penalty area.

Sturrock was impressed enough to try and sign him or, at the least, have his loan period extended but failed on both counts. Jones returned to Southampton on Monday where manager Harry Redknapp is likely to farm him out to a League Championship team to continue his education.

Yet, Sturrock insisted that Jones was far from the finished article.

"He is very naIve as a centre forward," said the Scottish manager. "He does not know the runs and does not contribute to the game enough apart from his goals. He will have to work really hard (on those aspects of his game) to make it as a forward".

"But he has done a fantastic job for us and showed really good qualities as a boxman and a finisher."

Sturrock believes that it would be counter-productive to Jones' development as a forward if he were used out of position for his country while Jones also expressed his desire to play upfront in red, white and black colours.

It makes an interesting dilemma for player as well as club and national coaches.

Versatility can be a poisoned chalice.

It is Jones' ability to adapt to a variety of positions-he has already played everywhere in midfield and defence for his country-that won him a national senior team spot in the first place.

He might not be the next Beattie but he certainly looks to be the new Anthony Rougier.

Rougier has been Trinidad and Tobago's quintessential utility player for nearly a decade and is proud of it. But his national efforts came at a personal cost.

Rougier won thousands of fans in the English and Scottish lower divisions during his career in Britain but he may never forget when ex-Manchester United star and the seventh top Premier League scorer of all time, Dwight Yorke, told him that he could be a Premiership class full back

if only he played there more regularly.

Of course, it is ultimately not down to Rougier, Jones or Yorke. It is the coach's job to decide where a player can help the team best.

Jones will not be the first or last to be asked to sacrifice for the team.

Chelsea's star attacking midfielder Frank Lampard was England's best player last season but accepted a defensive role for his country at the 2004 Euro Championship.

France built their game around thoughtful midfield genius Zinadine Zidane to the possible detriment of the talented and more explosive striker Thierry Henry while local stars like ex-national "Marvellous" Marvin Faustin and Eve also showed altruistic spirits when required for country.

Even Russell Latapy, arguably the most gifted Caribbean player of the last decade, had attempts to recreate himself as a striker turned down by national coaches who thought him indispensable as a playmaker.

St Clair must weigh up what Jones brings to the bargaining table.

He does not have the searing speed of Cornell Glen or Gary Glasgow. He is not as clever, on or off the ball, as Nigel Pierre, Jerren Nixon or Arnold Dwarika while he might not match the work ethic of Scott Sealy or Conrad Smith.

But he is a more dynamic aerial player than them all-John included-and could offer St Clair a unique offensive threat. Not to mention his goalscoring instincts.

He will not come across a CONCACAF defence at this stage of the World Cup qualifying campaign as uncomplicated as those he breached in League One but those six clubs-including Wrexham, where he scored a double against a defence marshalled by national teammate Lawrence-but it would also be unfair to assume that those teams made it easy for him.

To his credit, Jones knows that there is much room for improvement.

"I have not played in that mould for a while so I know I am missing some things," the six foot two player told the Express Sports. "I need to show more maturity on the ball in that I need to know when to hold it up and what to do with it and so on. I do prefer to play as a striker.

"I think it is in my best interest to play in a more attacking mode for Trinidad and Tobago. But my goal is just do to the best I can to help Trinidad qualify for the World Cup (wherever I play)."

If and when he gets the chance to show his international pedigree for his country is up to St Clair.