BURNABY, B.C. – Vancouver Whitecaps Designated Player Kenny Miller will spend some time away from the club next month, but it’s possible he won’t miss any Major League Soccer action.
That’s the word from Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie, who stated that Miller’s call up for Scotland’s friendly with England at Wembley Stadium on August 14 doesn’t clash with league fixtures against the San Jose Earthquakes and the Colorado Rapids on Aug. 10 and Aug.17, respectively.
“It’s right in between two games I believe,” Rennie said of the Scotland-England match after a training session at Swangard Stadium on Monday. “He doesn’t necessarily miss any games I don’t think.”
While the international friendly doesn’t mean anything on paper, it means everything off it for the two neighboring nations. So even though Miller’s call-up creates far from a convenient scenario for Rennie, he certainly doesn’t begrudge his countryman wanting to participate in such a high-profile encounter.
“This is a special game,” Rennie said. “It’s Scotland vs. England. That game doesn’t happen very often. Growing up in Scotland, Scotland-England is something you hear about from your parents, from your coaches and from people around soccer. You’ve seen it on television. You’ve seen how many Scottish people go down to England and take over Trafalgar Square.
“Really, it’s a massive, massive thing for anyone from Scotland to play against England.”
Still, while Rennie states Miller might not miss any MLS action, he will surely handle his 33-year-old star with care.
The forward has been in fine form for the ‘Caps this season, scoring six goals in 12 appearances, but missed two months of action with a hamstring injury suffered right after his last Scotland call-up. Ultimately, though, the occasion is too big for Rennie to consider any other alternative.
“It’s understandable that Kenny would want to play in this game and certainly we wouldn’t stand in his way,” Rennie said, before indicating the player might not play a part in September’s meaningless World Cup Qualifiers. “He’s been a great servant for Scotland and he’s played a lot of games, so this is a great chance for him to play.
“But beyond that, I don’t necessarily think that means that he’ll play in other games, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.