After emerging as a reliable option in midfield last season under two different coaches, 22-year-old Shamit Shome spent early 2020 adjusting to yet another new coach for the Montreal Impact. And because that new manager just happened to be former Arsenal, Barcelona and France national team star Thierry Henry, Shome admits the preseason butterflies may have been a bit more intense.
"In the beginning, it was actually really intimidating I think, just because this guy was at the top of the top and now he’s coaching us, and who knows what he thinks," Shome told OneSoccer during an interview on Thursday. "But I think, after the first two or three weeks, it kind of settled in that he’s our boss now, and there’s no problem with it."
The Impact had lost only one of five matches in all 2020 competitions before the season came to a halt following Week 2. Shome believes his side's early play is at least partly a reflection of the new manager's attitude.
"We’re starting to see what his mentality is, and you’re starting to see that translate into our team," Shome said. "Just based on the career he has, he’s a winner, and that’s his mentality, and I think that sort of translates to us which is really important."
While the short term is unclear everyone involved in soccer during the time of COVID-19, for Shome the longer term offers plenty of promise. The Edmonton, Alberta, native would've been a part of Canada's Olympic qualifying squad in March had the tournament not been scrapped. And he'll be 28 years old — smack in the middle of his prime — when the Canada national team is a co-host at the 2026 FIFA World Cup with the United States and Mexico national teams.
He's definitely aiming to be a part of Canada manager John Herdman's regular plans sooner than later.
"I know that will be good timing for me with my age," Shome said of the timing of the 2026 World Cup. "And hopefully I can keep improving, where I become someone that John Herdman can rely on knowing that this is a guy that I can have there."