Canada's Hart: DeRo “keen to play” at Gold Cup

Dwayne De Rosario, Canada

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TORONTO -- Canada coach Stephen Hart said he expects New York Red Bulls midfielder Dwayne De Rosario to suit up for the Canadians in next month’s Gold Cup.

Responding to comments from Hans Backe, in which the Red Bulls coach implied that De Rosario would be skipping the tournament, Hart seemed confident that the 33-year-old would be joining Canada’s national team as he has in the past.

“We have sent out our invitations and we believe Dwayne is keen to play at the Gold Cup,” Hart told reporters in a conference call Tuesday. “I will be chatting with him and [hope to] hear his take on this. I want to talk to Dwayne about the coach’s comments and we’ll go from there.”

Backe told the New York Post on Monday that he “would be very surprised” if De Rosario made himself available for the Canadian national team.

“You never know but I’m fairly sure we will have him. I don’t think he has played (much) the last two years for them,” Backe said.

De Rosario has appeared on and off for Canada over the past few years, and he remained with former club Toronto FC rather than participate in the 2009 Gold Cup. After missing the previous two friendlies, he was in Canada colors for a 1-0 loss to Greece in February. De Rosario then missed the most recent match, a 1-0 victory over Belarus, on March 29.

As Hart builds a younger side with an eye toward World Cup qualification, the national team coach says there’s still a spot for De Rosario in his squad going forward.

"I joke with people and I say that Dwayne is a young 33,” Hart said. “I don't really look at numbers, in terms of age. I look at how the player is performing and what he brings to the team and those are my main considerations."