BAD WALTERSDORF, Austria—Scott Arfield barely had any time to get acquainted with his new country and new national team before being thrown in the deep end against Mexico in March.
Having never set foot in Canada before his first national team camp, Arfield started the second half in the 3-0 loss to Mexico and didn’t make the away trip, where Canada lost 2-0, because of an injury. Now, Arfield’s had some time to settle in and is getting more comfortable with the maple leaf on his chest.
“It takes so much time to try and see how I play and how the boys play with the system that the manager wants us to play,” Arfield said, after Canada’s camp wrapped up with a 2-1 victory over Uzbekistan on Tuesday. “We’ve been away now for two games so I think it’s just trying to implement it in actual games against good opposition that we’ve had.”
Arfield was a cut above most of the players on the field as Canada got an own goal to pick up the victory in the Austrian countryside. The 27-year-old midfielder's free kick led to David Edgar’s goal in the first half, and his control and passing prowess were evident.
The prospect of Arfield working with Atiba Hutchinson in the center of midfield is certainly an enticing one with Canada heading on the road to the dreaded Estadio Olimpic Metropolitano in Honduras to start the final pair of games in the current round of World Cup Qualifying in September.
It might be a bit naive of him given Canada’s poor history in that part of the world, but Arfield is bullish of his team’s chances in a place that holds so much woe for Canada.
“It’s something I’m buzzing to be a part of. The boys have told me so many stories about that country,” Arfield said. “In this squad and the training standard and the ability, I don’t think we should go there scared in any way. Obviously they’re a good team and in good situations. They’ve been to World Cups previously.
"But I look around the squad the manager picks [and] I don’t think we’ve got anything to fear.”