Canada’s midfield could have used some help against the United States on Friday night – and it looks like that help will arrive just in time for next month’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Mexico.
According to a report in the Lancashire Telegraph, Burnley midfielder Scott Arfield will be called up to Les Rouges for those massive games next month, ending months of speculation about his national team status.
Arfield, 27, was born in Scotland and has played in the U.K. his entire career. He is eligible for Canada through his Toronto-born father, but having represented Scotland at the youth levels, he would need to file a “one-time switch” with FIFA before being allowed to play for Canada.
Filing that FIFA paperwork would permanently cap-tie Arfield to Canada –but the experienced midfielder appears content with that possibility.
“I’ve spoken to the manager of Canada and the manager of Scotland and reiterated my feelings and my decision,” he told the Telegraph. “I think it’s the best one for me and my family.”
Arfield has scored six goals this season and 16 overall in his three seasons with Burnley, which included one campaign in the Barclays Premier League. For a Canadian team that has traditionally struggled to create offense, a player such as Arfield would provide a welcome boost.
The Canadian team benefitted from a wave of new and returning players in 2015, including the likes of Tesho Akindele, Junior Hoilett, Fraser Aird and Lucas Cavallini. In December, Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani told MLSsoccer.com that fans could expect two more additions in time for those Mexico games.
The first turned out to be defender Steven Vitoria, who made his long-awaited debut for his birth nation in Friday’s friendly against the U.S. Now, it appears clearer than ever that the second will, indeed, be Arfield.