Stir it Up: The Astonishing Team Jamaica Could Have Had at the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Jack Charlton's Republic of Ireland famously took advantage of FIFA's 'grandparents rule' to great effect in the late 1980s and early 1990s, punching well above their weight to qualify for and  reach the knockout rounds of two successive World Cups in 1990 and 1994, with a squad that included many players who were actually born in England.


Had the Jamaican Football Federation been very sharp and persuasive over the last decade, they might well have enjoyed similar success when considering the number of current top players who would have been eligible to play for them.


Jamaica's Reggae Boyz haven't been to a World Cup since 1998, the country's one and only appearance on football's global international stage, but how might they have done if things had all happened a little differently?


In a parallel universe, this is the team that Jamaica are taking to the 2018 World Cup:

1. GK - Andre Blake

Jamaican-born; 31 caps for Jamaica


Currently playing his club football for Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer, Jamaican-born goalkeeper Andre Blake has been to three major tournaments with the team since making his debut in 2014, even leading his country as captain at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

2. DF - Kyle Walker

English-born; eligible for Jamaica until October 2012


Despite making his senior England debut as early as November 2011 when he was still 21 years of age, Kyle Walker remained eligible to represent Jamaica for another 10 months after as he was yet to play a competitive game for the Three Lions.

3. DF - Chris Smalling

English-born; eligible for Jamaica until September 2011


Chris Smalling went from playing non-league football for Maidstone United to representing England in a World Cup qualifier in the space of three-and-a-half whirlwind years. But until his England debut, he had the option of playing for Jamaica instead.

4. DF - Wes Morgan

English-born; 30 caps for Jamaica


Although born in Nottingham, Wes Morgan was called up to the Jamaican national team for the first time in late 2013 and captained the Reggae Boyz the following year. But it seems nobody told Harry Redknapp, who comically urged England to select Morgan ahead of Euro 2016.

5. DF - Danny Rose

English-born; eligible for Jamaica until June 2016


Having played for England at various youth levels and representing Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games, Danny Rose made his senior international debut for the Three Lion in March 2016, playing his first competitive game three months later. He was almost 26 at the time.

6. MF - Raheem Sterling

Jamaican-born; eligible for Jamaica until June 2014


Raheem Sterling was actually born in Jamaica, living in Kingston before moving to London at the age of five. The winger played junior international football for England, but never closed the door on representing Jamaica until after his competitive England debut in 2014.

7. MF - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

English-born; eligible for Jamaica until June 2012


With paternal grandparents from Jamaica, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could have turned out for the Caribbean nation had he wanted to. His first competitive appearance for England ultimately came when he started the opening game of Euro 2012 against France.

8. MF - Ravel Morrison

English-born; still eligible for Jamaica


A 14-year-old Ravel Morrison was seen by Sir Alex Ferguson as a bigger talent than both Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs at the same age. His career hasn't panned out that way, but he is still playing at a good level in Mexico and is uncapped so could yet play internationally for Jamaica.

9. MF - Leon Bailey

Jamaican-born; still eligible for Jamaica


The FA are apparently looking into the possibility of selecting Leon Bailey after it was reported that he is eligible to play for England through his grandparents. The winger was born in Kingston, but his only international football to date was for the Reggae Boyz at Under-23 level.

10. FW - Theo Walcott

English-born; eligible for Jamaica until May 2006


Theo Walcott's England debut in a friendly came before FIFA altered eligibility rules allowing players to switch nationality if they hadn't played a competitive international. But prior to representing the Three Lions, the former teen prodigy could have chosen Jamaica.

11. FW - Daniel Sturridge

English-born; eligible for Jamaica until September 2012


"I feel right at home [in Jamaica]. It's like the Jamaican people are my people," Daniel Sturridge, all of whom's grandparents hail from the island, told the Jamaican Observer  in 2012, still several months before he had actually played his first competitive game for England.

12. Others Still Eligible for Jamaica

Several other English-born Premier League players are also currently eligible for Jamaica as well, having never played a competitive international for any country.


West Ham winger Michail Antonio has been called up by England, but is yet to get on the pitch in either a friendly or a competitive game.


Watford captain Troy Deeney has been talked about as potential England material in the past, but has been approached by Jamaica as well, while Swansea winger Nathan Dyer has also been of interest to the Caribbean nation.


Chelsea goalkeeper Jamal Blackman, who is currently on loan at Sheffield United in the Championship, is another who could represent Jamaica.