Adrian Mariappa is only one of two players in the Reggae Boyz squad for next week Tuesday’s final round World Cup qualifier against Mexico inside the National Stadium who represented an English Premier League (EPL) club last season. This makes him more familiar than most as to the danger posed by Mexico’s forward Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez who plays for EPL champions Manchester United.
Having played against Manchester United at least twice last season, Mariappa intends to advise his national teammates how to go about stopping the renowned goal poacher.
“He (Hernandez) is a player that is well-known around the world and I am pretty sure that everyone will know his strengths and weaknesses,” Mariappa said.
“But obviously with me having played against him I will be giving them tips, just telling them how he plays and how we can sort the defence to stop him using his strengths against us.”
Mariappa warns that it would be a big mistake, however, to single out one person for attention, as the regional giants possess a number of dangerous players.
“They have got quality all over their side and I am pretty sure that they have got players that can hurt any team,” Mariappa said.
“I don’t think that we can afford just to concentrate on one player or two players just because they are better known or bigger household names.
“We have to take care of our jobs individually and match them all over the pitch and stop all their team and then we can concentrate on us and how we are going to impact them. We have some very good attacking players that can cause any team problems and I am sure with our pace we are going to cause them problems.”
The 26-year-old has made a mere nine appearances for the national team so far, but with the number of key defenders out with injuries include Nyron Nosworthy, who he played alongside for a number of years while representing Watford in England, he will be forced to lead the backline.
In addition to Nosworthy, regular left back Demar Phillips and right back/centre half Jermaine Taylor will be missing, due to injury, forcing new defensive partnerships to be formed.
“Myself, Demar (Phillips), Nyron (Nosworthy) and Taylor played quite a few games together, so those relationships were built, but now it is about building new relationships and getting that foundation strong for these games.”
“We still have a lot of quality in the side although we have got injuries to some of our big players, so it is just about training hard now and making sure everyone gels and we have got a good relationship with each other.”
Mariappa conceded however that Nosworthy, who got injured on March 22 against Panama, has been significantly missed.
“Obviously he (Nosworthy) is greatly missed; not just what he brings on the pitch but what he brings off it just in and around the training ground and around the hotels and the squad,” Mariappa said.