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Mosconi Cup MVP Jayson Shaw believes Team USA have made a mistake by selecting the legendary Earl Strickland: “I like Earl, I get on good with him and he’s still a good player, but for me I don’t think personally it was the right choice”
Last Updated: 26/11/21 4:13pm
Europe’s Mosconi Cup MVP Jayson Shaw claims the selection of legendary pool star Earl Strickland for Team USA is a mistake, although he still expects “fireworks” from the veteran at Alexandra Palace.
Strickland is a nine-time winner of the popular transatlantic 9-ball tournament, but ‘The Pearl’ will be making his first appearance in eight years.
USA captain Jeremy Jones did not hesitate picking 60-year-old Strickland as his first wild card, joining Skyler Woodward, Tyler Styer, Chris Reinhold, and vice-captain Shane Van Boening in the red, blue, and white of America.
“It’s good to have him back, but there will definitely be fireworks. It’s going to be fun.”
Jayson Shaw on Earl Strickland
His last outing was in 2013 but this year will be Strickland’s 15th Mosconi Cup, and European rival Shaw believes Strickland is making a mistake coming back to the baize with the competition so fierce.
“I like Earl, I get on good with him and he’s still a good player, but for me I don’t think personally it was the right choice,” said Shaw.
“There are other younger players who deserve a spot. They travel around putting all their time in, putting the hours in on the table too, but there are a good few players in America now.
“But it’s good to have him back but there will definitely be fireworks. It’s going to be fun.”
Shaw claims Shane Van Boening was the mastermind behind his inclusion, but he is worried whether Strickland will be able to remain level-headed throughout the four-day extravaganza at Alexandra Palace between December 7-10 – live on Sky Sports.
“I still do believe that Earl plays good, but I think he needs the right people around him to keep him sane a little bit but it only takes one thing to make him explode with rage and I’m sure I can make that happen,” admitted ‘Eagle Eye’.
“This could be his final hurrah. He’s like 60-year-old. It’s crazy! But he still plays good.”
“The best feeling about Alexandra Palace is that when you’re in the backroom practising, you can hear the fans going crazy. The floor is vibrating, so we kind of missed that last year”
Jayson Shaw on what the Moscni Cup means to him
Shaw also warned USA that their European counterparts are stronger than ever with captain Alex Lely selecting Karl Boyes, Albin Ouschan, David Alcaide, Joshua Filler, Eklent Kaci and Shaw.
“It’s strong. You could probably pick five European teams because there are so many good players and so many good young players coming through,” admitted Shaw. “It kind of keeps you on your toes a little bit, but I think we’re just as strong as we were last year, maybe, if not stronger so hopefully we can gel like we did last time and go out there and perform.”
“They’ve got Earl, who hasn’t played for eight years and they’ve got Chris Robinson who hasn’t played in front of any fans, and Tyler Styler hasn’t played since 2018.
“Here are three guys who are potentially walking into something a little bit different so that could play a big part, but we’re just focused on ourselves and do what we have to do.”
Europe will be aiming to retain the trophy they won 11-3 behind closed doors in Coventry last year because of the pandemic.
“I felt the last Mosconi Cup was great, but there were no fans so it was good and strange at the same time. I feel like this might be the best one yet because it’s been missed the last couple of years,” Glasgow’s Shaw said.
“The Mosconi Cup is the Mosconi Cup – you want to win for the team. The fans make it a great atmosphere but you’re still there as a team and you’re playing to win, so I think that keeps you going. You want to win for the team, you want to give everything for the team.
“It’s going to be the loudest and the best one yet just because of what’s gone on in the last 18 months.”
Shaw added: “The best feeling about Alexandra Palace is that when you’re in the backroom practising, you can hear the fans going crazy. The floor is vibrating so we kind of missed that last year.
“Hopefully we can put on a good show for the fans.”
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