Victor Wanyama hasn’t been around the Montreal Impact very long — he signed on March 3 and played one Concacaf Champions League match seven days later before the coronavirus pandemic-forced stoppage of the league.
But the former Tottenham Hotspur standout knows his new team has enough quality to surprise many and make a deep run at the MLS is Back Tournament.
“I think we have a good young group, technically we have a lot of good players all over the pitch. It’s just a matter of time [before] we all click together and we can surprise many,” Wanyama told reporters in a Zoom call Tuesday. “With the quality we have and the plan the manager has for us, it’s just a matter of time that we master it very quick and then we shock many.”
The 29-year-old didn't have the ideal start to the latest chapter of a career that also saw him compete for Celtic FC, but he never doubted his decision to sign with the Impact, who face the New England Revolution Thursday (8 pm ET | TUDN, Twitter, TSN, TVAS) in their tournament opener.
“It was a really tough period for me, joining a new club and then everything just went wrong with the pandemic hitting the world,” Wanyama said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “It was a really tough period, but I had to look at the positive side which was staying safe.”
Wanyama has taken that positive attitude with him to Orlando for the MLS is Back Tournament. He’s spending much of his time off the training ground in the game room, bonding with teammates he’s essentially just met.
What Wanyama doesn’t have is pressure to carry his new team.
"I’ve nothing to prove,” he said. “I just want to try and help my team, try and give my best in every game I play and the rest we’ll see where we can be. I don’t have any pressure or anything. I just want to go out there and enjoy myself, play football, make sure I help my teammates and do my job.”
Despite a sterling playing resume, Wanyama said you never stop soaking up knowledge in soccer. That’s true for him, as well as first-year Impact coach Thierry Henry.
“In football we cannot stop learning,” Wanyama said. “We always learn and we have a young manager who had also a good career and is someone we can all learn from. That’s the advantage we have.”