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'Add a little bit of skill' - Bolt given hope over Jamaica call-up

19:43 GMT+4 31/10/2018
Usain Bolt Central Coast Mariners
The Olympic sprint king and world record holder has long held footballing ambitions - now he could get a chance to play for his country

Usian Bolt has been told to add some skill to his lightning speed to win a place in the Jamaica national team.

The retired sprinter - who holds the world-record at 100m and 200m and a eight-time Olympic gold medalist - has been trying to launch a football career.

Reports suggest he has priced himself out of a modest contract offer from Australian club Central Coast Mariners, despite scoring twice in a recent friendly for the A-League outfit.

He has had his fair share of critics, however, with Perth Glory striker Andy Keogh recently slamming the 32-year-old for having a "touch like a trampoline".

However, Jamaican FA President Michael Ricketts believes the national hero could be an asset to his country - if he can develop some footballing finesse. 

"Usain has a special attribute in his speed," he told ESPN FC.

"If he can add a little bit of skill, some flair, he could supplement this Jamaican team. The players would certainly welcome someone like Usain. I have had informal discussions with some of them and they are excited at the prospect of playing with Usain.

"If he can make the transition from being a superstar on the track to being a good enough football player, then we will certainly call him up.

"We are presently in a competition, the Nations League. After the Nations League, we go into the Gold Cup. By then we will have had a chance to look at him and we'll be in a position to make a decision."

Ricketts admitted, though, that he was frustrated Bolt - who was also offered a deal by Maltese club Valletta - hadn't joined a club in his home country.

"I am a little disappointed that Usain hasn't signed up with a Jamaican club," he added. "That would give us a chance to see a lot more of him.

"The coach will make a decision but we would love to see him in a serious, real match situation.

"We are hopeful because Usain would certainly be a crowd-puller. If he turns up in a Jamaican outfit then a lot of people would want to turn up and watch Usain Bolt play football."

Bolt has harboured a dream - not always realistically - of becoming a footballer since before his decision to quit athletics.

In 2016 he said: "If I could get to play for Manchester United, that would be like a dream come true. Yes, that would be epic."

He trained with German giants Borussia Dortmund, South African club Sundowns and Norway's Stromsgodset before linking up with the Mariners in August.