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McCleary on Messi, sprint stars and Hec's sleepless night

11 June 2015

Garath supplies the latest from the Jamaican camp

Royals winger Garath McCleary has given us another insight into life at the Copa America from behind the scenes with the Jamaican squad.

McCleary has been penning online updates from his trip out to South America via 5 magazine's website and the Royals' Reggae Boyz are gearing up for their opening fixture against Uruguay on Saturday.

McCleary and Michael Hector could be set to face Lionel Messi when they meet Argentina in the group stages, and it seems the Jamaican pair were doing a little bit of video analysis on the star striker.

"An 8am wake with a picture of the Chilean coastline, surprising it was still dark at that time but beautiful none the less. With the itinerary arriving for the day’s schedule (underneath our doors), the most anticipated part was watching the UCL final. With training due to start at 5pm (9pm GMT), we made sure that it was pushed back till after the game. Luckily there was no extra time.

"What can you say, Barca breathtaking at times with Lionel Messi orchestrating them to victory once again. With a prompt training session straight after the game, today was very tough. It was just what we needed with some of our seasons finishing as early as the 2nd of May."

McCleary has found himself a sprinting partner! "Speaking to one of the players on the way back from training, Allan Ottey who we found out is Merlene Ottey‘s (the former Jamaican sprinters) cousin. We got onto the subject of running, he revealed his 200m time was 21 seconds FLAT, yes I said FLAT! He also runs 100m in low 10s, now I’m quick but that is ridiculous."

It seems Big Hec is a light sleeper. "Day 3. With a nightclub around the corner from our hotel, music had some of the players awake at 2-3am. Luckily I was zoned out having a very good sleep, the same didn’t apply for roommate Michael Hector, being awake pretty much all night."

"Having a look at our match shirts I will be wearing number 22. It’s the number I’ve worn for all my caps, but first with McCleary on the back which makes it that little bit more special. First impression is really good especially with the extra detailing, the only downside is somehow I’ve ended up with a size too big #baggy…

"New arrivals in Giles Barnes, Jermaine Taylor both of (Houstan Dynamo) and Kemar Lawrence of (New York Red Bulls) all feature in the MLS and had games for their respective teams before coming out.

"Training's becoming more about gearing towards the upcoming fixture against Uruguay this Saturday. Working on shape mostly the moral of the group is high and we can’t wait to get started!"

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