Home Global Game Europe Hutchinson still hasn’t made up his mind about his national-team future

Hutchinson still hasn’t made up his mind about his national-team future

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Canadian midfielder Atiba Hutchinson has been named the men’s national team player of the year for the fifth time.

Of course, that meant he had to do the obligatory press conference by phone with members of the media. And that meant that the Besiktas star would need to answer two burning questions, right?

  • What is your national-team future?
  • How did you react to the recent terror attacks near Besiktas’s stadium in Istanbul?

First off, before Hutchinson even got on the phone line, media were told that any questions about Turkey’s politics would not be addressed. The call was to talk about football, and football only.

And, when it comes to Hutchinson’s unsure national-team future, speaking with him Friday gave we in the media no clearer indication of where he stands. Since Canada crashed out of World Cup qualifying, Hutchinson has focused on his club career; he has told interim national-team coach Michael Findlay that he will soon come to a decision if he will play for Canada again.

But, that decision hasn’t been made yet, though Hutchinson said it would likely be made in weeks rather than months.

“I’m going to take a little more time to speak to a few more people, people in the CSA [Canadian Soccer Association] and friends and family,” he said.

Atiba Hutchinson in action against Honduras PHOTO: BOB FRID/CANADA SOCCER

He said that not making CONCACAF’s Hex, the region’s final stage of World Cup qualifying, was not just disappointing, but surprising. He felt that former coach Benito Floro has the team going “in the right direction” and the squad was better than it had been in previous years.

“We started to play good football, we gelled well together.

Now well into his 30s, and under contract to Besiktas till the end of the 2017-18 season, Hutchinson is not sure if his body would be able to deal with the travel, and the wear and tear of another World Cup qualifying campaign.

“It’s important for me to do the right thing,” he said.

As for Besiktas, he said he feels that he’s well respected by the club and its fans, and is really enjoying his football in Turkey. As for realizing his dream of one day playing in the Premier League, he said he understands the clock is ticking.

“I have to accept that I’m a little bit older. I’m happy where I am at right now.”

As for one day maybe playing in MLS, the thought of performing at home does interest him. But he spoke about it as if it would be a swan song; maybe for a year.

“It would be nice to experience playing at home in a professional league,” he said.  But, considering he’s an everyday player at Besiktas, and he’s enjoying his time at the club, and is under contract until the middle of 2018, any MLS talk is really, really premature.

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