Hislop in fine fettle for the finals
By Chris Stanton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Shaka Hislop has revealed his unexpected delight after T&T's World Cup qualification.
Shaka Hislop has revealed his unexpected delight after Trinidad & Tobago's qualification handed him one last chance to appear in the World Cup finals.
Hislop will play a part in T&T's debut appearance at a finals in Germany this summer and that opportunity is a culmination of a return to action and form for the keeper.
The 37-year-old's career appeared to have hit a brick wall after Hislop found himself on the fringes of the Portsmouth playing squad last season.
But a move to West Ham has seen the former Reading keeper enjoy something of an Indian summer and he now feels confident of facing Wayne Rooney and his England team-mates in fine fettle.
"A year ago I would have thought it unbelievable to be in this position, at my age, talking about World Cups, cup finals and qualifying for Europe," said Hislop
"I was out of favour at Portsmouth then and things were bad for me.
"I'm delighted at the way my season is going. If I was just playing reserve team football it would be a big step up to the World Cup and I wouldn't be confident facing the likes of Rooney.
"But I'm not worried now because things are going well for me and for West Ham.
"We're not going to Germany to be the whipping boys."
T&T could be set to make an impact in their first appearance in a World Cup finals in the opinion of Chelsea striker Eidur Gudjohnsen, who has targeted Dwight Yorke as their key man.
Gudjohnsen was in opposition to the Caribbeans on Tuesday when his Iceland side were defeated 2-0 at Loftus Road and the former Bolton man believes Yorke will be the key to his side's chances of upsetting England.
"Dwight Yorke is still a threat," said Gudjohnsen.
"It's very obvious that he's got quality. He's tidy on the ball and can still score goals.
"He'll always be a threat on the pitch.
"Coming forward I think Trinidad have some good players.
"They're a decent side and I wish them all the best. It's great to see them at the World Cup.
"But England at their best should beat them."
Meanwhile, T&T's Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker has praised the performance of Collin Samuel, who laid on the second goal for his side on Tuesday, despite not being over-enamoured with the Dundee United man on first impressions.
"Samuel did well, very well," revealed Beenhakker.
"I invited him two or three times to our qualification matches. At that time I didn't have a good impression but he's doing much better."