Home Global Game Europe Hoilett finally commits to Canada: But can he be the player he once was?

Hoilett finally commits to Canada: But can he be the player he once was?


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.

Junior Hoilett

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.

For a player who has nearly 100 appearances for QPR under his belt, and then nearly 100 appearances for Blackburn Rovers before that, the inaction is troubling. But, this might be a case where a few decent performances for Canada may help his position at the club, or create a market for the player.

There’s no doubt that, in the past, Hoilett has been a key part of the Blackburn and QPR squads in which he’s been involved. In 2014, he provided the assist on Bobby Zamora’s goal which gave QPR a win over Derby County in the Championship playoff, which sent Rangers back to the Premiership.

Last season, he played in 22 Premiership matches for QPR, 13 of them as a sub. He didn’t score, and he got credit for one assist, in a March 4, 2015 match against Arsenal.In 2012-13, for QPR,  he had four goals and five assists in Championship play. In 2011-12, his final year for Blackburn, he played in 34 Premier League matches, scored seven times and assisted on six other goals. So, there’s clearly a pattern of diminishing returns.

If Canada could get that Junior Hoilett, that player of 2011-12, it would be a major boost to the program. But, can Hoilett turn back the clock on his career? He needs to. Canada needs him to.


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  1. Kent

    October 5, 2015 at 8:21 am

    We have approximately 1 professional player per position. We are constantly calling guys up to the senior national team as soon as they sign a pro contract, or sometimes even when we are anticipating them signing a pro contract. Guys that play on reserve teams get call ups. And yet, somehow, fans of this 104th ranked nation don’t like that a guy that has scored 13 goals in the top tier of England, and 11 goals in the 2nd tiers of Germany and England, gets called into the team. In my opinion, not calling him up would be a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face. I’m really curious to see how he does for Canada and for whatever team he ends up on when he gets out of a bad situation in QPR.

    Let’s also remember, bench players on QPR were good enough for Brazil at the last world cup.

  2. left back

    October 1, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Steedman… fair enough… it is just the attitude that Canada will be there for him when all other avenues are not available is what i don’t like… doesn’t send the right message… ya… bring him on… and watch him have a shocker… like so many others…

  3. cwell

    September 30, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    A second-rate, over-the-hill player is touted as the savior of our national team. Pathetic.

  4. Steedman

    September 30, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I don’t see what all the complaining is about. So if he doesn’t pan out as the McJesus of Canadian soccer, that’s okay, at least it forces others to compete for a spot on the starting 11. Some healthy competition is what this country needs. No one getting complacent.

    And if he does turn out to be our savior, hey even better.

  5. left back

    September 30, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    K Why… i think you may be right….. we are looking at simeon jackson two point ohhhh…. JH was hoping to get a look at the England team back in 2011… then he probably turned his attention to Jamaica recently but realized he was way too far down the pecking order… now he has conceded that Canada is what is left for him…. sad really… the CSA should take a stand and make an example of him…. if you think about it… Canada will get there at some point in time… there is no doubt… we have a lot of resources and the immigration policy is strong… i would take a stand now and let players know that Canada is not a ‘fall back’ plan….

    look at Jonathan DG… he will never see another minute of international competition in his life… the Dutch have no future plans for him… but he is cup tied and i bet he wishes he played with Canada now….. at least he would still be playing internationally.. with his brother….

    You can’t win a game without players going through a brick wall for the Jersey…. that simple. Gotta wear that maple leaf with pride… or as the scots say….. “get tae fook”

  6. Kahkakew yawassanay

    September 30, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Wow…..what a horrible choice, play for a lousy overhyped MNT that are destined to fail as a starter…..he knew he would never have been a starter with his other potential NAtional teams.

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