Canada men’s national soccer team, Concacaf Gold Cup, United States men’s national soccer team HERDMAN SIT-DOWN: #CANMNT Gold Cup Preview, Davies Injury Update, Akinola Arrival

This team’s needed that, and i think, is as a coach. We love the smell of the grass we love being on the grass, so just getting that consistency and and watching how the players have come back in from that june. Camp like it’s they’ve, hit the ground running this week, where we’re really happy with the progress, as well as the consistency and how we left off so it’s just brought a little bit of excitement for this tournament. I have to start with team news. The news today is alfonso davies has unfortunately left camp with an injury. What can you tell us about alfonso and his outlook for the future? Look he’s uh he’ll, be a big, miss he’s off the pitch he’s. A good laugh and i think the lads enjoy his energy and he’s just the spirit and then on the pitch he’s, probably 50 percent of all of our attacking actions and and that’s that’s, real that’s that’s, a statistic: you can go and look up: he’s he’s that Important to this team, but you know i say this in in life when these moments happen, it’s an opportunity for somebody else and who knows another davies character might pop through in this in this tournament, that’s. What these tournaments create opportunities for young men to step forward. So you know there are a few players here. You know whether it’s the veterans or um, some of the young guys we’ve brought in you know this could be their tournament and often when a player like alfonso is not available.

You know the guys start. Realizing i’ve got to step up and find that next level of performance, so we’ll be giving people permission to do that that’s for sure. As far as alfonso is there any update to his status? Are you expecting this to be a long term injury, or is there anything you can share as regards his condition, yeah it’s early days he um he picked up his mri just yesterday, the medical team at bayern, and here they’ve reviewed it and obviously the best course Of action was for him to return home, i mean the critical part for us is he’s got to be ready for september. Um he’s got to be able to get. You know that pre season, fitness and rhythm and he’s got to be in the right environment to get healthy. You know the resources that buy in munich and obviously the people who understand him best they’re there so again, he’s a big loss. I think to the whole tournament, not just canada. You know, i think, fans across all the countries. You know love to see a player like that, but, like you say, hopefully, others will step up. The other major absence on the team is, of course jonathan david. Can you just take us inside the decision to allow him to stay in france and what went into that decision? Well, it was his his decision. I think it was um. It was a tough decision for him.

I think everyone was on a high coming out of the june camp and, as we left you know, those guys were beat up there. You know there’s, no doubt when you play that many games in that shorter period and someone like jonathan who put the shirt on and started every single match. You know they were carrying things um and for him he needed to go back and heal. That was important. Again, i’ve got one eye and it’s a big eye on september, that’s that’s the most important window for this country and to bring him back into a gold cup where he was healing through a tournament. It wasn’t the right decision so he’s being able to to go back again to his club. Get the right care, get the right return to play a plan in place, and you know from what i’m hearing he’s progressing nicely so should be ready for us in september. On a more positive note, ayo akanola is here for his first formal camp with the men’s national team. Just uh give us some insight into that process. How io ended up here, and i guess what you expect from him as a player? Well, it was a long process and uh and a deep, deep process. I think it helped build our relationship through it. I’Ve really enjoyed the conversations with him, he’s a really um reflective sort of character. He he takes his thing into very deep levels as well.

He was thinking more, i think, i’d have to say. I think he was thinking more about. You know that the decision on canada is off the field, given him a lot uh his family and and and him and he’s in his life here. But the us from a football perspective have formed them as a player, so i fell for him. I mean he was in a really tough, tough situation. He felt he owed a lot to the us and what they’ve invested in him as a footballer and a lot to canada and at the end you know the patriotism was taken out of the decision it. It was, you know, very clear what is best for ayo akanola as a performer and as a high performer. Where will you get the best opportunities to be the best iowa canola that you can be, and you know i think the simplicity of it came down to a great conversation where he wasn’t selected for the us. He was very emotional about that and i helped reframe it to say. Look let the emotion you know seep, because the bottom line is the us have qualified for the majority of these world cups and probably will again in 2022 and my job, for you is to make sure you make the right decisions here. So, while your emotions telling you to jump on and sign for canada now in this moment, because you never got selected, you know you need to see if canada can qualify for a world cup first, you need to see that we can prove to you that we Can be the right country for you moving forward and you won’t know that until until we get through these games, so we pressed pause.

We waited, and you know i think, coming out of that. You know he was. He was pretty clear. He said that’s one of the realest conversations i’ve had in football for a long time, and i think that just helped build more trust, because i think you realize that you know i was here for him, not not my agenda and i think, as a coach, that’s That’S at the core, you know you’re there for the people that you work with coming back to the gold cup more specifically, it’s been 21 years since canada lifted this trophy, our last major trophy on the international scene. Do you see this as a genuine opportunity to win another trophy here? I think it’s a an opportunity to keep building this team’s mentality, their their belief in themselves, um to to to build the tactical identity against tougher opponents and more consistently tougher opponents. Like you know, suriname are a tough opponent and they’re going to show on this school cup that they’re they’re a difficult team and a talented team and and hairy. We all know hairy and not an easy team to play against. So you know: we’ve had two tough tests and it’s been a long time coming that we’ve been tested like that uh, but this gold cup will give us more and the critical part is and i’ve said this to the players. Look we’ve got. You know a clear mission in the group stage: there’s an opportunity to win that group stage and control your destiny.

You know for us: we’ve we’ve got one of the talented squads here, like player for player we’re up there, we’re we’re in that top four or five teams that that can genuinely say they can win this tournament, but experience that’s, that’s the gap and you know learning Through these moments, being one nil down two nil down, you know how we come back from those moments. You know how we see out a two nil lead. You know that dreaded half time two nil score line going in off time. How do we manage that now? So i think there’s there’s, just a lot of good opportunity to one look at that group stage: take it game by game and then learn about that next piece of the tournament and that’s that’s, where we slipped up in the last experience, you know we we got Ahead of ourselves, i think – and you know the the seven days from you know the group stage to the quarterfinal it’s a tough period of time, because guys have already been together for 15 days and now they’re getting seven days to get ready for one game and They’Ve been preparing like three two days before so it’s, a different rhythm and that’s.

What do you think?

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