It’s not the roster that will travel to Qatar, but still: Canada called up eight players from CF Montreal for its preseason game against Bahrain on Nov. 11.
Posted at 11:25 am
Updated at 2:55 pm
In addition to regulars Kamal Miller, Alistair Johnston, Samuel Piette and Ismaël Koné, John Herdman has enlisted the services of Joel Waterman, Mathieu Choinière, Zachary Brault-Guillard and James Pantemis.
Almost all of the 21 players invited to face Bahrain come from teams that play in MLS and for whom the season is over. Thus, Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David and the rest of the established maple leaf players in Europe will not be there.
“There are players who can still show that they have the level to be selected in the 26-player lineup” that will go to the World Cup, Herdman stressed, this Wednesday, by videoconference.
Some have to be prepared in case of injury, he adds. “And the performance itself can give an indication that the player is in better physical shape than others. »
Thus, Choinière gets his first call with the senior team. Brault-Guillard returns there for the first time since February 2. Pantemis had been a reserve in the first eight qualifying matches at the Octagonal.
“Zach has been on our team for a long time,” Herdman said. He racked up a lot of minutes last year, but a lot less this year, unfortunately. As successful as Montreal has been, he’s been a tough lineup to break. Especially since Alistair Johnston has done so well [à sa position]. »
By inviting them to the Middle East for this match in a “desert environment,” Herdman wants to give them “the experience of preparing for the World Cup.”
“We don’t know what can happen. And if they can relieve the pressure and perform well, they will always be in the conversation. »
The advantage of Kids of CF Montreal, in the eyes of the coach, comes from the fact that they were involved in the MLS qualifiers until October 23. By contrast, the Toronto FC boys’ season, in particular, ended two weeks early.
“They are in good physical shape and they are ready. From this perspective, they can be trusted. The message that I send them is that they get involved, that they contribute, that they do the best possible job in this environment, that they take off the pressure of having to do this or that thing to be elected, and see where that takes them. »
The misfortune of some…
The day started badly for John Herdman. He was talking to the media minutes after talking to his center back Scott Kennedy. The latter injured his shoulder last weekend, during a match in the German second division, so he will miss the World Cup.
“I have had difficult moments in my career, but this one was particularly difficult,” says the Englishman.
Players like Kennedy made “sacrifices” during the qualifying process, he recalls. Like traveling during the pandemic, when “his family told him not to.”
This unfortunate absence, however, opens the door to a more concrete possibility for Joel Waterman.
The central defender of CF Montreal was part of the troop that faced Qatar and Uruguay last September, although without stepping on the pitch. He could play big against Bahrain on November 11.
Especially since on Wednesday, Herdman got a chance to show off his Toronto FC counterpart, Doneil Henry. An injury kept the defender away from his club at the end of the season, but his international experience appeals to his manager.
“He’s an excellent footballer,” he immediately comments on Henry.
“He is in a good position and knows our team well. I think he can contribute to the identity of our formation. He played 50 times for Canada. He understands how international matches go, his feelings. And he helps his teammates off the pitch, in ways not always well understood by outsiders. »
“He has a profile that no one else has. […] He is mature and is able to transmit his leadership to the group. »
If he’s less healthy, we understand that Henry will be ahead of Waterman on the chessboard. That will not prevent the Montreal eleven player from waiting for a call among the 26 guests.
“A Lump in the Stomach”
Meanwhile, the European season continues. Alphonso Davies’ last game for Bayern Munich before the World Cup, for example, will be on November 12. The latter even had a scare a few weeks ago when he suffered a skull injury. More fear than harm, in the end.
“I feel a knot in my stomach every game for fear of losing a critical player,” Herdman said. The loss of Scott Kennedy is terrible. »
Because while Canada did very well in Davies’s absence last winter in CONCACAF, it reminds us that the World Cup is not on the same level.
“It is the international scene. It is a higher level. We really need these players. »
The list of 21 summoned players
- Goalkeeper — Maxime Crepeau | United States/Los Angeles FC
- Goalkeeper — James Pantemis | CAN/CF Montreal
- Goalkeeper — Dayne St. Clair | United States/Minnesota United FC
- Center Back — Doneil Henry | CAN/Toronto F.C.
- Center Back — Lukas MacNaughton | CAN/Toronto F.C.
- Center Back — Kamal Miller | CAN/CF Montreal
- Center Back — Joel Waterman | CAN/CF Montreal
- Side — Zachary Brault-Guillard | CAN/CF Montreal
- Full Back — Raheem Edwards | USA/LA Galaxy
- Side — Alistair Johnston | CAN/CF Montreal
- Full Back — Richie Laryea | CAN/Toronto F.C.
- Midfielder — Mathieu Choiniere | CAN/CF Montreal
- Midfielder — Liam Fraser | BEL/KMSK Deinze
- Midfielder — Mark-Anthony Kaye | CAN/Toronto F.C.
- Midfielder — Ismaël Koné | CAN/CF Montreal
- Midfielder — Jonathan Osorio | CAN/Toronto F.C.
- Midfielder — Samuel Piette | CAN/CF Montreal
- Forward — Ayo Akinola | CAN/Toronto F.C.
- Forward — Lucas Cavallini | CAN/Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- Forward — Jayden Nelson | CAN/Toronto F.C.
- Forward — Jacob Shaffelburg | USA/Nashville South Carolina
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