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Rejuvenated Danté Leverock plays key role for Bermuda

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Getting stuck in: Danté Leverock takes on a couple of French Guiana players (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Danté Leverock is adamant he still has a vital role to play for the national team as he aims to help lead Bermuda back into the top flight of the Concacaf Nations League.

After a difficult outing in a 2-0 defeat against Guyana towards the end of the last Nations League campaign in March, Leverock enjoyed a renaissance on Friday, masterfully marshalling the backline as Bermuda kicked off the new campaign with a hard-fought 0-0 draw at home to French Guiana.

While much has been made of the focus on youth under new head coach Michael Findlay, Leverock, 31, remains as determined as ever to prove his worth as the team take on St Vincent & the Grenadines today (4.30pm Bermuda time).

“I still have that desire to be able to compete at this level and so whatever role I’m asked to play, I’m more than willing to do it,” said Leverock, who concedes he made a conscious effort to return to peak physical condition in case he was called upon by his country.

“I understand that all teams need to go through a transitional phase, but I also feel that having experienced players involved is still very important.

“I was conscious of how fit I should be if I wanted to be involved again and so without even knowing if I would be called up, I could not leave any stone unturned in my preparations to be ready.

“I knew I had to be ready physically because I didn’t want my fitness or physical condition to hinder my ability to play for the national team

“I’m still a competitor and so I always want to play with that Bermuda flag on my chest. I know there are younger players here to push the senior players and so my focus is to help those youngsters around me and then step aside when the time is right.

Dominant display: Danté Leverock clears the ball against French Guiana (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

“I want to be involved for as long as I’m needed and so my focus is to help the team back to League A, back to the Gold Cup and fulfil whatever objectives the team has.”

While keen to retain his place in the squad, Leverock took the opportunity to single out one of the emerging talents within the squad, centre-half partner Harry Twite, who he feels has all the attributes to become a professional.

“Harry is very humble, very focused and already has that professional mindset for someone of his age,” Leverock said, of the 18-year-old who recently signed for English non-League side King’s Lynn Town.

“He is already playing at a decent level and I’m in no doubt he has all the attributes to move up the leagues and play at a higher level.

“If I can help him in any way, and any of the younger players for that matter, then great, because I wish him all the best.”

Leverock was not disheartened by the stalemate on Friday but has challenged his side to seize the initiative within the group against St Vincent, who beat Belize in their opening encounter.

“Obviously you set out in every game to win and looking back we know we should have taken the victory,” added Leverock, who captained Bermuda when they previously played in League A before being relegated in 2019.

“Taking everything into account, having a new-look team and a new coach it was not the worst result, because you always want to start a campaign with a positive result.

“However, we were still disappointed not to win and we know we have to now make amends against St Vincent & the Grenadines and take all three points.

“It’s always tough playing away from home, but historically we’ve always done well on the road. Obviously, it’s hard to prepare fully in such a short space of time after the last match, but that’s international football and so we can’t use that as an excuse.

“We’ve watched analysis on them and we have an idea what they will be like, so we will be as best prepared as possible.”

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Published September 12, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated September 13, 2023 at 8:13 am)

Rejuvenated Danté Leverock plays key role for Bermuda

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