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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 09:52 GMT
Jason Roberts column
Wigan striker Jason Roberts
By Jason Roberts
Wigan striker

The first time I ever pulled on an international jersey for Grenada, when I was 19 years old, was the proudest moment of my career.

I come from a footballing family and it was amazing to make my debut alongside my uncle Otis Roberts, who basically taught me how to play the game.

Grenada and Wigan striker Jason Roberts
I have to be honest, if I'd thought I had a chance of playing for England I would have had to take it

I can't remember how many caps or goals I have got exactly, it is something like 12 goals in 22 games.

My mother was born in French Guyana and my dad in Grenada and I've got loads of family back home there, I have always gone back a lot since I was a kid.

It was always a big deal when I was growing up, I was so proud of my heritage and to play international football was a huge deal.

At the time there was talk about me playing for the England Under-21s, but I just felt I might not get the chance at full level so I took the plunge with Grenada and I've never looked back.

I have to be honest - if I'd thought I had a good chance of playing for England I would have taken it up.

As a footballer, you want to play in the World Cup finals and with the best players and all the real greats have played at the very highest level.

But for me, playing for Grenada was more than just playing international football, it was a chance to put something back into the country.

There are a lot of good players in the Carribbean - Trinidad have shown that by qualifying for the World Cup, but we're not far off them and can compete with them on our day.

I would like to congratulate the Trinidadians on a magnificent achievement and I am delighted for my great mate Shaka Hislop, it is fantastic news.

As for Grenada, it is just about pushing ourselves to the next level, to get to a World Cup or a Gold Cup, so far it's just not happened for us.

It is my dream before I retire, maybe it is just pie in the sky I don't know, but it is my dream to take Grenada to the World Cup finals.

I was as happy as anyone when Jamaica did it in 1998 because it allowed some of their players to come and play in England and I hope we can do that as I'd love to see some Grenadians in the Premiership.

There is a buzz around Wigan - we're not just playing the best teams, we're competing with them too

There's a good standard of football over there but the facilities aren't great and there isn't a professional league because it is such a small country.

They show the Premiership highlights and I started getting texts and calls from people back home congratulating me after Wigan's great start to the season.

I wouldn't say I'm the most famous Grenadian in the world, but we are getting plenty of exposure!

Football is right up there with cricket and basketball as the main sport in the Carribbean, just because it gets so much coverage wherever you are.

And I do get recognised all the time when I go over - but only because we are all family!

It isn't just in Grenada where the profile of Wigan Athletic has increased, it is happening right on our own doorstep too.

There has been so much publicity this season, almost blanket coverage and you get the showbiz that goes with it when you play the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal.

There is a buzz around the town because we are not only playing the best teams but competing too, and people here have been dreaming about it for years.

A lot of football fans in Wigan grew up supporting other clubs, we all know how it works.

It's great that they can now watch their home town team at the top level instead.

  • Read Jason Roberts' midweek column on the BBC Sport website every week

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