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Jamaica’s Morgan relishing the road less traveled

Wes Morgan (#4) enjoyed a relegation-avoiding season with Leicester City and has reached the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup final with Jamaica. (Photo: Mexsport)

ATLANTA -- It’s been a whirlwind year for Jamaica defender Wes Morgan.

The 31-year-old center back has seen it all over the last twelve months.

On the club level, he’s survived angry fans and heavy media scrutiny. He’s watched as his team, Leicester City, was completely written off, given no hope of maintaining Premier League status. Then, like a phoenix from the ashes, he played a huge role as the Foxes rose from the fire to finish in 14th place, a full six points above the drop zone. 

On the international level, things have been equally complicated. Failing to earn a single point at the 2015 Copa America, Morgan once again watched as his team was subjected to inherent pitfalls of losing.

However, just like with his club, he proved focused and unfazed and now, following one of the biggest upsets in Gold Cup history, he stands on the brink of glory.

“It’s been a bit of a crazy season for me,” said Morgan after his team’s stunning 2-1 semifinal victory over the United States. “For things to have gone the way they did with Leicester, with every one saying that we’re going to get relegated, and then going on that winning streak, it was incredible.

“Then, to come out here with Jamaica and give a good account of ourselves following the Copa America…it’s just been a whirlwind, really. It’s unbelievable. We just keep proving people wrong.”

Morgan, who made 37 appearances in all competitions last season for Leicester, sees distinct similarities between Leicester and Jamaica, especially in the realm of camaraderie and togetherness. 

“They are two very different environments, especially in terms of time spent together,” he remarked. “But both teams have really incredible spirit and are willing to fight and scrap. Both teams enjoy playing with each other. Those things are so important at this level.”

 

Much like the last twelve months, Morgan’s international career has been far from standard operating procedure. Despite playing well in England for both Nottingham Forest and Leicester, Morgan found his international call-up elusive. He sometimes wondered if it would ever come.

 

“Yeah, I felt that way at times,” expressed Morgan. “Things are different in the way recruitment for the Jamaica team works and it looked like it may not be in the cards. But I kept working and, like they say, better late than never.”

 

A testament to his hard work and resiliency, Morgan is now a regular in head coach Winfried Schafer’s starting eleven and has been a true catalyst throughout the team’s Cinderella run to the Gold Cup final.

 

“I’ve obviously arrived at a good time,” Morgan concluded. “We have a chance to create history here with Jamaica. We’re in the final of the Gold Cup. It’s amazing. If we keep it up, maybe…just maybe…we can lift the cup.”

 

With the kind of year Wes Morgan has endured, nobody should bet against him. 

 

 
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