WATCH: Herdman on CanMNT roster ahead of historic World Cup Qualifying finale
Canada Men's National Team manager John Herdman says he hopes his team can "keep writing more chapters to this story" as he prepares for the final World Cup Qualifying window in Concacaf, outlining the need for his top-of-the-table team to finish strong - and in first place - by the end of this journey.
Herdman announced Sunday his final World Cup Qualifying squad set to take on Costa Rica (March 24, 10PM ET / 7PM PT), Jamaica (@BMO Field, March 27, 4PM ET / 1PM PT), and Panama (March 30, 9PM ET / 6PM PT), with CF Montreal's rising star Ismael Kone and Minnesota United's goalkeeper revelation Dayne St. Clair earning call-ups for this final stanza.
And, with one eye on securing qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup - Canada's first time at the grand affair since 1986 - Herdman emphasized a need to remain focused and enjoy each moment as it comes.
"I don't think anyone wants it to end. We've really enjoyed this experience," Herdman told reporters, when asked to reflect on his World Cup Qualifying journey. "When you look back, there's been some amazing moments that have shaped the team and the staff. We've grown massively during this period, 17 games now on this journey, with three left to go. It'll be more growth in these next three games."
He added: "We know qualifying for the World Cup is the most important part of this event, but there are other goals that are important to us (like finishing first)."
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While many of his regular faces earned call-ups for this final camp - including stalwarts like Milan Borjan, Atiba Hutchinson, Junior Hoilett and Jonathan Osorio, as well as young stars like Jonathan David and Tajon Buchanan - concerns regarding the playing time - or lack therof - for important players like Richie Laryea and Stephen Eustaquio.
Both made club transfers over the January window, with Laryea swapping Toronto FC for Nottingham Forest in the English Championship, and Eustaquio moving up to FC Porto in Portugal.
But, neither have seen regular playing time of late, with Laryea yet to debut for his new club, and Eustaquio being used sparingly.
Herdman, however, isn't too concerned.
"You don't underestimate either the power of human will and potential," Herdman said. "Players like that can turn it on when they need to. Maybe they can't for 95, 100 minutes ... but at the end of the day, they've shown a resilient mindset."