OTTAWA, Canada– There is a strong sense of excitement surrounding the Canadian National Team at present.
With young players in the mix like 17-year-old Bayern Munich-bound Alphonso Davies, Canada Head Coach John Herdman has every reason to be optimistic about what could come in the lead-up to Concacaf World Cup Qualifying for Qatar 2022.
That was evidenced by last week’s 8-0 win over the U.S. Virgin Islands in Canada’s 2019/20 Concacaf Nations League Qualifying opener, in which Herdman could take away many positives.
“The USVI match brought challenges, like the heat, the style of the opponent and I think the team adapted well,” said Herdman in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
“I think we came out of it well. I felt like we evolved so I’m happy about that,” added Herdman.
Not only are Canada’s Nations League matches helping his young players adjust to international football, but the games are giving his veteran players the valuable experience of playing all across the Concacaf region.
“These Nations League games are important for everyone on our team. It is good for us to get experience playing in different climates, going against different styles. It’s important to get these competitive matches on a regular basis rather than waiting two years. I like that our team has to earn the right to play in a Gold Cup and remain in Group A,” said Herdman.
Herdman also believes that the advent of the Nations League is sure to raise the quality of football around the region and that Concacaf has taken a big step in improving by implementing this tournament.
“Playing regularly with meaning and consequence in a serious competition brings an acute focus to teams. It creates a pathway with stepping stone for teams to improve. I think from the Concacaf perspective the games will only get closer because teams will adapt, they’ll build strategies and so I expect tougher games as the tournament goes on,” concluded Herdman.