Herdman calls for international transfers as CanMNT stars shine in WCQ
Canada manager John Herdman has called for more of his players to move from MLS to the top leagues in Europe, pointing out that any successful World Cup group stage campaign requires a level of experience that isn't often found in Major League Soccer.
"What I've learned, and I said this right in my statistics when I took over, is that if you want to get out of the group stage, you need a minimum of six players playing at a tier one level – that's players playing in the top five leagues in the world, playing in the top five teams in those leagues. They're the only teams that get out of the group stage."
As the Canadian men's national team prepares to take on Panama to round out their World Cup Qualfiying campaign – March 30, pre-game show at 8PM ET / 5PM PT on OneSoccer – Herdman affirmed the job is not yet done and that focusing on the World Cup will come after his team secures first place in the Concacaf Octagonal with a result on Wednesday night.
And he's hoping that success in this final stanza translates to transfer window success for his MLS stars, too.
"I'm hoping to see people like Alistair Johnston, people like Kamal Miller make the next step into those top leagues in Europe," Herdman told reporters ahead of his team's travel to Panama.
"When you're number one in Concacaf – and that's what we're going after in this next game – and you see those American boys playing, all of them in Champions League clubs?
"It's a bit of a head scratcher when our Canadian boys there are still playing in MLS."
Finally, Herdman offered that the more Canadians who go and impress abroad – as Jonathan David and Tajon Buchanan have at Lille OSC and Club Brugge, respectively – the more valueable Canadian footballers will be in the transfer market.
And that fact, coupled with not one, but two upcoming World Cup spots, makes it easier for Herdman to recruit dual-nationals, too.
"Well, the '86 team, you didn't really have global players in any of the teams back there. Very domestic," Herdman said. "If you think about the '86, Ian Rush and Graeme Souness were first out of the Premier League, as it was, into places like Italy. It wasn't normal.
"So this is a global game now, and we're going to have Canadians popping up all over the place. And this Canadian passport now has got unbelievable value.
"We have to thank Alphonso (Davies) for that.
"I'd like to see this team have made a mark on that value of the Canadian passport. But a lot of that lies down to Alphonso winning a Champions League and playing at Bayern.
"This group of men have just sort of cemented it now."