Home Global Game CONCACAF Stephen Hart chats about Jackson, DeRo and NASL

Stephen Hart chats about Jackson, DeRo and NASL

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Canadian men’s national team coach Stephen Hart held a conference call Tuesday to discuss the team’s preparation ahead of the Gold Cup and the June 1 friendly against Ecuador at BMO Field.

Hart touched on a number of topics, from mixed messages over the availability of attacking midfielder Dwayne De Rosario for the Gold Cup, where Simeon Jackson will play in the Canadian lineup and the possibility that Montreal Impact or FC Edmonton players could get call-ups.

On Simeon Jackson:
Jackson has scored nine times in his latest seven games, including winning goals in his last two matches with Norwich City, as the Canaries secured promotion to the English Premiership for next season.

But Jackson hasn’t been used as an out-and-out striker by Hart in recent matches. Hart said he likes the “option of (Jackson) attacking from a wide position.” So, even though Jackson has been lighting it up playing at the top of the Canaries’ formation, it isn’t guaranteed he will play in that spot for Canada.

Hart, though, is enthused that Jackson is taking advantage of his move to the starting lineup. The Mississauga, Ont. native had spent most of the first two-thirds of the season coming off the bench.

“The biggest difference with him is that now he’s getting a chance to play,” said Hart.

On NASL clubs feeding Canada:
Hart said that he is tracking some players on the Montreal Impact and FC Edmonton for inclusion into the Canadian roster for the Gold Cup.

“Going into the Gold Cup, you need a very balanced squad,” he said. “I have my eye on one or two players. We will see how they perform in the next one or two games.”

Hmm. Have to think that Ali Gerba, the Montreal Impact striker, could have a chance to get back into the national program. Gerba scored twice against Edmonton Sunday. Or, could there be an opening for Shaun Saiko, the FC Edmonton midfielder who was nominated for NASL player of the month honours? Hart wouldn’t confirm which players he was tracking, but he isn’t ignoring the NASL.

On DeRo:
Hart said no player had surprised him by declining an invitation to play for Canada at the Gold Cup.

And that includes Dwayne De Rosario, who told media in New York Tuesday he fully intended to play for Canada this summer.

Red Bulls’ coach Hans Backe had said earlier in the week that he didn’t think De Rosario would leave the club to play for Canada.

Hart said talk of DeRo missing the Gold Cup was “news to me.”

On Hoilett:
Hart admitted that he has continued to court Brampton, Ont. native Junior Hoilett, who has yet to commit for Canada.

“I’m working on him.”

But Hart said that Hoilett surely will not wear Canadian colours at the Gold Cup, because of his contractual situation with Blackburn Rovers.

Right now, Blackburn is just three points ahead of the relegation line — and, if the team goes down, it could be time for Hoilett to move on.

On Terry Dunfield:
The Vancouver Whitecaps’ midfielder has been solid this season, and his work has not gone unnoticed by Hart. While the coach indicated that Vancouver teen Russell Teibert still needs time to grow and develop, his choice of words about Dunfield would suggest that the Whitecap would be on his way to play for Canada.

“I’ve seen him play at the international level. He’s been very consistent for Vancouver.”

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