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Aberdeen’s Reggae Boy Greg Leigh craving more international action with Jamaica

Dons defender Greg Leigh
Dons defender Greg Leigh

Greg Leigh is aiming for more international duty after making his debut for Jamaica.

The Aberdeen defender is now a member of the Reggae Boyz after playing in the two friendlies against Saudi Arabia during the international break and, after making the breakthrough to the national set-up, Leigh – who qualifies through his Jamaican father – is eager to experience more.

The 26 year-old, who played in the 3-0 defeat and the 2-1 win against the Saudis, said: “I really enjoyed being away, it’s a different experience being in international football and a new setup.

“Going to Saudi Arabia was interesting, it was far more American than I expected it to be. There were loads of American chains, so it was like being in America, but in the middle of the desert.

“It was mad hot, really hot, the whole time we were there. Most people only came out at night because of that, so it was good to go somewhere you wouldn’t normally go.

“Football-wise, the standard was really high. The quality of training was excellent, but you’d expect that when you see the players we have. You had to be on your game and hopefully I did enough to stay in the squad now.”

Aberdeen’s Greg Leigh challenges Rangers’ Scott Arfield on Sunday.

With a big 2021 ahead for the Jamaican national team, Leigh could not have timed his breakthrough better.

He said: “We have World Cup qualifiers in June and then straight into the Gold Cup in July. In the World Cup group we have Costa Rica, Mexico and the USA.

“There is another trip in March to Catalonia, so hopefully I can play well enough to stay in the plans.

“It would mean playing all through next summer, but that’s something you consider when you want to play international football.

“The prospect of playing in a World Cup is above everything else, it would be a massive thing. I want to commit to it and do everything I can to help us get there.

With his family already involved in international sport in the country, Leigh is focused on making them proud after seeing his wait to make his first appearance delayed due to injury.

He said: “Playing for Jamaica is something I’d thought about a lot and I made contact with the FA over there before my injury.

“I asked them if they’d be interested, they said yes and obviously gave me the call up.

“It was a while happening because of everything that’s going on, I was in the process of getting my passport all the way from January. In total, the whole thing has been on the go for about a year.

“My family are very proud of it and that was one of the reasons I wanted to do it.

“My uncle Warren Blake is quite well known in Jamaica because he’s involved in the athletic set-up.

“He’s an orthopaedic surgeon who has worked with Usain Bolt, so he and my cousins were excited to see me in the setup.”

While international football was the high point of a busy November for Leigh, then his first start of the season in Sunday’s 4-0 loss at Rangers was a low, but the defender is eager to get the chance to make amends at Hamilton tonight (7pm).

He said: “Sunday was difficult, Rangers are a decent side and the way they move the ball is the best in the league at the moment.

“We had players missing so we had to just ride it out. We are just glad to get a game again so quickly, Hamilton will make it a battle so we have to deal with that.”

Leigh has a dual target of not only staying on the international stage, but also earning himself a new deal with the Dons after returning from NAC Breda on a short-term deal last month.

He said: “My contract is up in January, so we will hopefully speak about that. With everything going on, no fans allowed in, the best option was a short-term contract.

“For me it was about getting over my injury, getting fit again and getting back to playing games.

“Something will have to happen in the next two months, whether that’s me staying or going we will see.”

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