Mansfield centre-back Krystian Pearce has reflected on his second experience of the season with the Barbados national team, after returning to club matters on Tuesday.
The defender started Barbados’ CONCACAF Nations League qualifier against El Salvador at the weekend, a game that they lost 3-0 against a side that sit level on points with group leaders Curacao.
Despite the loss, the defender maintains that to represent Barbados is a ‘proud moment’ for him.
“I got back [to England] on Monday morning at about eight o’clock,” said Pearce. “It was a long day of travelling, but I’m back now and ready to go.
“It [flights] was 23 hours on the way there, and 25 hours on the way back, and three flights each way. Tuesday I had a bit of a recovery day, and today I feel a lot better.
“We were always going to be the underdogs for that game [against El Salvador]. We went in there to try and defend and maybe come out with a point, but we conceded quite early in the game and it was a tough game from there.
“It’s a big thing for me because my dad is from Barbados, so it was a proud moment when I got my first cap. It’s coming up to the first home game next month as well, so it’s a good feeling. I’ve got a few relatives out there [Barbados].
“I started out playing for England under-17s and under-19s, so for a few years after that I was hoping to get back into the England setup. But it got to a point where I wanted to play for Barbados and it took a few years to actually get the call-up.
“It happened through my dad being out there and he met the assistant technical director at a function. They exchanged numbers, and he put my name forward.
"It’s a big thing for me because my dad is from Barbados, so it was a proud moment when I got my first cap. It’s coming up to the first home game next month as well, so it’s a good feeling."
“We’re trying to qualify for the Gold Cup as Barbados have never done it before. They’ve never qualified for any major tournament so that’s the next step for us.
“Their [Barbados] setup isn’t as good as ours, but they try and do the right things. Their standard of coaching isn’t as high as ours so I try and help and give my input when I can.”
Pearce went on to discuss the five-at-the-back system implemented by manager David Flitcroft at Mansfield, one that he has adjusted to well, with the aid of summer signing Matt Preston.
“We’re all comfortable in our positions,” he added. “With Pressie [Matt Preston] coming in and doing well, he’s played this system before. It helped us gel a lot quicker.
“From playing this system and being from Birmingham as well, we [myself and Preston] share a car together, so it’s been quite easy to gel.
“It’s been frustrating that we haven’t got the wins I think we deserve. As a team we’re playing good football. It’s probably the best football I’ve been part of since I’ve been at the club. I’m happy with the way it’s going at the moment.
“I try and lead by example [as captain]. I try and lead through my performances and do the right things on and off the field. Me and the gaffer have a good relationship.
The defender also looked ahead to Saturday’s game against Swindon Town in Sky Bet League Two, and emphasised the importance of picking up clean sheets throughout the season.
“We’ve been playing some good football and haven’t got the results we feel we deserve. We’ve always been stronger in the second half of the season so if we can start picking up wins from now, we’ll do well.
“It’s going to be a tough game [against Swindon]. Obviously it’s the gaffer’s old club so there’s going to be a bit of rivalry there. It’s going to be a tough game.
“I take pride as a defender at trying to keep clean sheets. As a collective, we’re all trying to work towards that and get as many clean sheets as possible.
“We always want to keep a clean sheet so when we don’t, it’s always a frustration for us.”
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