Amari’i Bell, one of Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz’ newest recruits, was named Man-of-the-Match after his fourth-minute goal earned Luton Town a 1-0 win against Barnsley on Tuesday night, and believes the strike has given him momentum going forward.
For the 27-year-old wing-back, it was his first goal in the UK since March 30, 2019, when he scored for Blackburn Rovers against Aston Villa, ending a 58-game drought.
And it came as he swept home a right-wing cross from Cameron Jerome, who is of Grenadian descent, from just outside the box with his supposedly weaker right foot before wheeling away in celebration at Oakwell in the English Championship contest.
“It’s been a long time, I’ve come close. I remember last season I scored one – they said it was offside, but it wasn’t,” said the UK-born Bell, a summer recruit for Luton as a free agent after his contract at Blackburn expired at the end of the last season.
“It’s good to get one today and get on the scoresheet and get my targets going.”
Asked what he thought when Jerome’s cross found him just outside the box on the left, Bell said: “I just thought ‘I’m going to hit it.’
“I believe in myself to get it on target and put it in the position where I wanted to, it came off, so I’m happy with that.
“I had a similar chance against Peterborough [in a 3-0 opening-day win] too so it just shows that the hard work is coming off and that’s something that I’ve a few targets at the beginning of the season, to get some goals and assists.”
He added: “To get one early in the season is great, gives me a bit more momentum.
“It was another right-footed chance and it’s good that I’ve got it on target and once you do that, you give yourself a chance.”
Manager Nathan Jones said: “I’m happy for him (Bell). We play wing-backs, we want them to play high”
One of six UK-based players called up by Jamaica ahead of their 4-1 defeat against the United States in a friendly in March, Bell was a member of the Reggae Boyz squad for this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
He played in all three group matches but not in the quarter-final defeat to the US.