Former national footballer Kenwyne Jones said criticism from the national public never fazed him as he knew the hard work he put into his game.
Jones, now 33 years old, announced his retirement from all football last week after an international career that lasted almost 15 years. Jones became a polarising figure in local football towards the latter stage of his career despite being handed the captaincy by ex-TT coach Stephen Hart and being the most experienced player. His supporters praised him for his captaincy and ability to lead the TT attack while playing as a lone striker, while others viewed him with derision, unhappy with his goalscoring record – 23 goals in 82 appearances.
“The criticism never really bothered me that much,” Jones said, “at the end of the day, we know that we are in a society that does that type of stuff because we are in an office that is outside.
“The job that we do is in the public eye and of course you are going to probably receive some criticism or have naysayers, but at the end of the day if you don’t have those (critics), that means you not doing something right. (If you receive criticism) that means you are making an impact so I was not too worried about it.”
The former English Premiership player said, “When I wake up in the morning, I would be training by myself and with my teammates. You are not training with fans, you are not training with critics, you not training with others. While they are trying to critique a viewing of a game, they are not there for all the hard work, so at the end of the day I knew I had to continue working hard for myself.”
Jones said his confidence stems from being satisfied with his accomplishments while playing in England, Saudi Arabia and the USA.
“Overall I am really happy with what I have achieved. I have been part of the national senior level for 14 years and I played a few years at youth level. I have achieved making it to tournaments like the Gold Cup and the World Cup, and of course to captain the country was a major feat as well.”
Jones, who was part of the squad that represented TT at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, thanked his well-wishers and those who helped mould him into the player he became.
“I would like to thank everyone who has had any input at all in where I have gotten. To say that I will be calling a few (names) will be a disservice to the rest. I just want to say to the people that know me and actually know that they had some type of input in me getting to certain points, that I am grateful to them and I thank them for their input and time.”