Boyz manager Simpson weighs in on Bolt's pursuit of football dream
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Roy Simpson, the long-time manager of the Jamaica national senior men's team, the Reggae Boyz, has described Usain Bolt's desire to play professional football at the highest level in Europe or in the English Premier League as “challenging”.
Bolt, who will be 32 years old when the 2018-19 season starts and who retired from track and field at last August's IAAF World Championships in London, has reignited his desire to play professional football and has set his sights on running out for his favourite club Manchester United, the many-time English and European champions.
There are reports that Bolt has managed to secure a trial with German Bundesliga team Borrusia Dortmund in March, a club with which he and German sporting good giant Puma shares sponsorship.
Bolt has never played organised football at any level, but that has never stopped him from talking up his abilities and chances of doing what many think is the impossible. Simpson said he wouldn't want to second-guess the sprint phenomenon, saying after all, that “he is Bolt and we wouldn't want to say what he can and cannot do”.
Simpson agreed that starting at a lower level could help the multiple World Championships and Olympic Games winner and world record holder in the 100m and 200m, assimilate into the game, but said he could be a tactical weapon for a coach.
“He has speed and he has power,” Simpson pointed out. “What if a coach decides to put him on the wing and instructs the midfielders to pass the ball to him?”
Simpson added that for this to work, Bolt would need to have a high level of technical competency. “His first touch would have to be good enough to play at the speed of the game at that level,” Simpson reasoned.
The Boyz manager has never seen Bolt play in person, but says he has seen tapes of the athlete in charity games and admits he is not totally impaired. “Bolt is a phenomenal athlete”, Simpson said.
Even without “exposure to the game” at the lower level, Simpson thinks Bolt's impact at any club could be felt off the field and does not blame him for using his influence to get trials with big clubs.
“In terms of marketability, Bolt would be an impact at any club as he would drive up the sales of merchandise and people will come to see him play,” Simpson noted.
Bolt has said in the past that he would compare himself with former Manchester United and England Captain Wayne Rooney, the record goalscorer for both teams. In response to this, Simpsonsaid: “He (Bolt) is as good as he thinks he is.”