Exclusive: Coach Herdman on CanMNT adapting without Alphonso Davies
Gareth Wheeler sits down with Canada Men's National Team manager John Herdman following his team's roster reveal for World Cup Qualifying matches vs. Honduras, the United States, and El Salvador.
Wheeler: Welcome to Miami. Welcome to OneSoccer.ca. John Herdman there are six games to go and it feels like we've rounded the corner. We're here in the final stretch and you've just named your squad of 25 players who are going to compete in this taxing, this very difficult January window. Let's start off with one player that won't be included. Alphonso Davies is unavailable this time around. How does this change or alter your plans for this three-match window?
Herdman: I think firstly we just wish Alphonso all the best of health and hope he recovers. We can't deny that it's a big loss and a big loss on a number of reasons. He's such an infectious personality when he's in the camp and, yeah, you miss him. You miss him when he's not here but we have to adapt. It's part of this story
We've been on on this world cup qualification journey since march last year and we've had a lot of ups and downs, with players coming in and out and we've responded and i think that's that's the key to all of this. There's a mentality in this group that you know these things are going to happen and it's an opportunity now for someone else to respond and make sure that we we stay on track to qualify for the World Cup.
Wheeler: The good news, John, is there still is continuity, there's consistency in the group that's available. You've spoken about the brotherhood among the players coming back into this team. You must be thrilled about the way this team has come together and the fact that all of these players are available to you this window.
Herdman: You're sitting here nervous as as a head coach. This is probably the most nervous I've been coming through this period of time, just wondering how players are going to arrive with the travel. We've seen how challenging this new variant of covid has been so i think all of us coaches in Concacaf are sitting on tent hooks waiting to see how it unfolds.
There is good news that (players) are back. I thought they were a big loss in the windows they missed but at the same time you know this group. I think regardless who comes in they're very tight, they're excited to go into Honduras and have that experience. They're excited to come back home and play in Canada. They really enjoyed that last experience in Toronto and Edmonton.
We're just back to business. I said to them today: It's start again mentality. We genuinely just start again. That's where we're at. The table has been wiped. We imagine again we're one game at a time and we're six games away and every game's going to be a Cup final. Nothing's changed for us. I think whoever comes in, whatever that squad we roll out, I don't think the mentality is going to shift. There's a key purpose in this group and they know what they want and we'll do anything we need to do to to get after it
Watch the entire exclusive 1-on-1 with coach John Herdman (here)