The wait is finally over. Junior Hoilett will play for Canada, ending a will-he-or-won’t-he saga that has lasted more than five years.
Stephen Hart, Colin Miller and, now, current national-team coach Benito Floro had to get used to dealing with regular “so what about Hoilett?” calls during their media availabilities. Now, with confirmation that the Brampton, Ont. native has finally made the commitment to wear the red jersey — at least for the upcoming friendly against Ghana — the Canadian Soccer Association treated the news as if the national team was a club side that had just made a major signing. The Canada Soccer account teased it on Twitter, with a video of Hoilett in a Canada jersey, face blurred. And then Canada Soccer’s PR department actually scheduled the big announcement. You have to understand, we’re used to the it-comes-when-it-comes method when it comes to releasing Canadians rosters for friendlies. Scheduling a big announcement almost doesn’t feel, well, Canadian.
But, before we immediately slot Hoilett into the starting XI, some sober second thought. Right now, he’d be yet another Canadian player who might actually be seeing more minutes playing for the national team than he does for his club side. This has been a pattern for Canadian players — they get called in to the national team, even though they sit on benches or play on reserve squads.
Hoilett has played exactly zero minutes for Queens Park Rangers in the Championship this season. Zero. In QPR’s last nine league games, he was on the bench as an unused sub for five of them, and he was not even in the squad for the other four. He’s made two appearances this year — for a total of 87 minutes — in the League Cup.
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