BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Shaun Maloney has no fears that his switch to the Chicago Fire will have any impact on his international career, and confirmed that Scotland coach Gordon Strachan was “excited” about his move to MLS.
The former Wigan Athletic attacker was officially unveiled to the media at Toyota Park on Monday morning ahead of the Fire’s first preseason training session, and revealed he got the “green light” from Strachan before becoming the third Designated Player to join Chicago this offseason.
“I spoke to him pretty early in January when I decided that this move was what I wanted,” Maloney, who has 37 Scotland caps, told reporters. “I spoke to him again a couple of days before I traveled over just for a second reassurance and no problems. He was actually very excited for the move and the new challenge.
“The national team means the world to me, it’s a huge motivation, so it was good that I got the green light from him, there were no issues whatsoever with it.”
Maloney joins fellow attacking DP’s David Accam and Kennedy Igboananike and seven other new additions to head coach Frank Yallop’s rebuilt roster as the Fire looks to improve significantly on a disappointing 2014 campaign that saw the Men in Red draw an MLS record 18 games and finish ninth in the Eastern Conference.
Maloney, who turned 32 on Saturday, rejected reported interest from former club Celtic and EPL side Leicester City to link up with the Fire, thanks largely to Yallop’s personal drive to get the deal done.
“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” Maloney said. “I met and spoke with the manager in early January and on a personal level I got on very well with him. We discussed the vision of the club and I just bought in straight away. I’m very motivated and happy to be here.”
Yallop was equally delighted with his latest acquisition, who he hopes will add craft, guile and a dynamic, creative spark that was missing from the Fire last year.
“Someone like Shaun makes the team tick,” Yallop told reporters. “With the signings we’ve made early, the one piece that we needed, and the most important piece, was getting Shaun.”
“The big thing is his ability to assist and create and he’s perfect for that. I like his work-rate. I call it a ‘buzzer.’ He buzzes all over and wants to be on the ball, wants to get the thing moving, doesn’t take plays off and I think that’s perfect for how we want to play.”
On a busy day of significant news for the club, the Fire also announced on Monday a three-year regional TV deal that will see 21 Fire games broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago in 2015 and confirmed that former goalkeeper Jon Busch – who played under Yallop in San Jose – is training with the club.