Produced in the Caribbean, crafted in Belgium: Hyland’s exploits give Trinidad and Tobago hope

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By Nathan Carr

“Hyland is a big part of the future of Trinidad and Tobago’s football,” says national team boss Jamaal Shabazz. Quite a statement to lunge on a fresh-faced 23-year-old; but a calculated one at that. There are big hopes for him.

Hyland has endured a fairly nomadic career. He started at former TT Pro League side San Juan Jabloteh, who had to withdraw from the nation’s top division last year after financial issues, where he tasted little success. Celtic, by all accounts rather surprisingly, then came knocking on the door in 2008 and he impressed in the trial only for Jabloteh to turn down a bid just under £500,000.

Interest did not fade out and next were Portsmouth, who were heavily linked but nothing materialised as Hyland was unable to get a work permit granted in time. It was difficult to work out where Hyland was going to end up, with considerable interest but no movement, but he came into luck. Belgian club Zulte Waregem recruited him and Hyland joined their development scheme before making the move permanent in 2009.

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Malicious Monday (2006 WC - England v. Trinidad): Peter Crouch using cheeky hair-pulling tactics to score

As if being 6 foot, 7 inches isn’t a big enough aerial advantage! Spurs striker and England international Peter Crouch was fed up with being tied nil-nil with World Cup minnows Trinidad & Tobago, so he decided to take things into his own hands. Quite literally. Mr. Classy Cross (aka David Beckham) set up a beautiful cross for any striker to nod into the back of the net, so instead of just rising above T&T defender Brent Sancho the lanky giant chose to go Elizabeth Lambert-style and pull on Sancho’s dreadlocks. And he got away with it too. You cannot teach that. Well you can, but you shouldn’t.

Crouch’s goal gave England the lead in the 83rd minute.  This result allowed England to win their group, which then allowed them to avoid facing hosts Germany (instead playing Ecuador) in the Round of 16, who knocked out Sweden. If you don’t believe the little things matter in football, here’s your proof! Cheeky, cheeky proof.

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