Home Global Game CONCACAF Miller will put his stamp on Canada’s Gold Cup squad: No answer yet from Aird

Miller will put his stamp on Canada’s Gold Cup squad: No answer yet from Aird

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In his previous incarnations as Canadian men’s national team coach, Colin Miller has inherited the rosters picked by others. The team he had in January for friendlies against Denmark and the United States was the work of technical director Tony Fonseca. And Fonseca made the selections ahead of the late-May friendly in Edmonton which saw Costa Rica beat Canada, 1-0.

But, when the Gold Cup roster is announced next week, it will be Miller’s team. This time around, he has last say on all the picks.

“The squad is my selection,” said Miller on Thursday. “There will be four or five players there I am excited to be working with for the first time.”

Two weeks ago, Canadian Soccer Association General Secretary Peter Montopoli called FC Edmonton owner Tom Fath to see if the NASL club would be willing to release Miller for the July Gold Cup. As the NASL takes the month of July off, this wasn’t as tricky a request as it might seem. The answer was yes. The Canadian non-MLS players will begin camp June 26 in California; Miller will coach FC Edmonton till its final match of the spring season, June 30. On Canada Day, Miller will join the team in California.

“This may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Miller said.

Canada has already issued a 35-man long list from which Miller will choose the players who will go to California. And his fingerprints were all over maybe the most surprising name on the list: Fraser Aird could still be eligible to play for Canada, but has represented Scotland at the youth level. But Aird plays for Rangers, one of Miller’s former clubs. And Miller is close with Rangers manager Ally McCoist. So, a couple of weeks ago, Miller asked McCoist about the possibility of putting Aird on Canada’s long list.

“We are in a situation where the player hasn’t committed either way, to play for Canada or to play for Scotland. If Fraser opts to play for Scotland, that’s fine, we wish him the best of luck. But, looking at the best interests of our national team, we have made a formal approach to Rangers and the player.”

But in terms of an answer? Nothing yet.

Miller, though, isn’t really big on the idea of chasing players who are on the fence about playing for Canada. If Aird doesn’t commit soon, then Miller said it’s not worth spending the ink and time on keeping up the chase. Let it go, and focus on the players who want to play for Canada.

And, Miller would look forward the chance to facing an old friend. While Trinidad and Tobago is not in Canada’s Gold Cup group there is, of course, the chance the teams could meet in the knockout stages. And that would mean Miller would share the sideline with new T&T coach Stephen Hart, who left the Canadian national team after last year’s 8-1 loss to Honduras that knocked Les Rouges out of World Cup qualifying.

Miller recalled that Hart, Dale Mitchell and himself were all in the same course to get their “A” coaching licences; and all would eventually coach the Canadian national team. Miller said no one in Canada knew as much about CONCACAF as Hart did; and that he hopes nothing but the best for his old friend except, of course, if T&T plays Canada.

“Stephen is a quality coach and I felt the players let him down in Honduras, in what I consider to be a freak result in international football.”

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