VANCOUVER, B.C. – Kenny Miller's contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps ends in June, but he'd like to stick around for longer.
While the 34-year-old forward has always said he would be open to the possibility of extending his stay, on Wednesday, the Scottish Designated Player was a bit more explicit about his hope of continuing his MLS adventure.
“To be honest, I hope I'm still sitting here on the phone talking to you [in June],” Miller told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1040 on Wednesday during a phone interview. “I'm hoping I'm still here. I've spoke with the manager, and I've spoke with the people at the club.
“They've let me know where they stand, and I've let them know where I stand. For me, it's about staying fit and healthy and being on that pitch as much as I can, score as many goals as I can and hopefully that will earn me the right to stay here until the end of the season.”
When healthy, Miller was a talisman for the Whitecaps in 2013, bouncing back after his uninspiring tail end to the 2012 campaign to score eight goals in 21 appearances.
His presence on the field influenced Vancouver, as did his absence. The 'Caps were 10-6-3 when he started in comparison to the team's overall record of 13-12-9, which ultimately saw the club fail to make the postseason.
But injuries did take a toll. And after offseason surgery on his right knee, Miller's preseason involvement has been restricted to very light work – also due to a quad issue rather than just the knee itself.
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So now the onus is on Miller to prove he can stay fit and contribute, and head coach Carl Robinson isn't ruling out a continued relationship if he delivers.
“It's a great sign when any player wants to stay at the club that you're at,” Robinson told reporters at the University of British Columbia on Wednesday following a training session. “That's a good sign. Obviously, we'll judge that in June, July. Kenny's working his way to fitness at the moment. He's got four, five months left on his deal.
“Kenny's thing is Kenny's got to come in, get in the team and score goals. If Kenny does that, then we'll reassess that in June, July.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.