Trinidad & Tobago boss Lawrence ready for Wrexham return

Trinidad & Tobago boss Dennis Lawrence finally gets the chance to manage at Wrexham three months after he almost took charge of his former club.

Lawrence turned down the opportunity to manage the National League club – whom he made over 200 appearances for between 2001 and 2006 – in December after Sam Ricketts left to join Shewsbury.

But the 44-year-old former defender chose to stay in a job that he started in January 2017.

“It was there (Wrexham) but being in the Trinidad & Tobago job it was a difficult position to be in,” Lawrence said ahead of his side’s friendly with Wales at the Racecourse Ground on Wednesday.

“Trinidad & Tobago is my home. It’s my country. But Wrexham is my heart.

“It’s like your brother and sister having an argument.

“I had to make a decision to continue with the job I started with Trinidad & Tobago.

“I was comfortable to make that decision, but it was a difficult one for me.”

Lawrence played for Trinidad & Tobago at the 2006 World Cup in Germany – which included a 2-0 defeat to England – and was the high point of the small Caribbean nation’s football history.

The former Crewe, Swansea and Wrexham centre-half appears to have a sizeable job on his hands recapturing those glories.

Trinidad & Tobago are ranked 93rd in the world with players drawn from clubs such as Indy Eleven, Memphis 901 and Churchill Brothers.

There have been successive 1-0 defeats to Thailand and Iran, and a 2-0 win over the United Arab Emirates is the only time that Trinidad & Tobago have scored in their last five games.

“We’re in a re-building stage because after we didn’t qualify for Russia we started to think about Qatar 2022,” Lawrence said.

“The idea is that we’ve got some players with fantastic qualities, and it’s about getting them to play as a team and in a professional manner.

“We want to compete with teams like Wales who are world-class in my eyes.”

The two nations have met once before, a pre-2006 World Cup friendly in the Austrian city of Graz which Wales won 2-1 with Robert Earnshaw scoring twice.

As well as Dwight Yorke and Stern John, then two respected strikers of the English game, Lawrence played in a match that was notable for a 16-year-old Gareth Bale making his Wales debut.

“It was young Gareth then and he was a lot, lot quicker than he is now!” Lawrence said.

“It was very good for us as we were preparing our team to go to the World Cup and we needed games.

“Wales were formidable opposition and it was fantastic build-up for us going into the World Cup.

“They’ve come on a lot since then, so we’re expecting an even tougher challenge.”