Sheffield United’s David Edgar has admitted “there can be no more near misses” as he bids to help Canada reach their first World Cup finals since 1986.
The centre-half, who reported for international duty with Benito Floro’s side immediately after last weekend’s League One fixture against Millwall, is among the 23 man squad which faces Mexico in Vancouver on Friday before Tuesday’s return at the Azteca Stadium.
Canada are second in CONCACAF Pool A, behind their North American rivals, with the top two teams guaranteed a place in the final round of qualifying for Russia 2018.
“We’re going in the right direction but we have to qualify,” Edgar said. “There can’t be any more near-misses.
“There’s a buzz about the place, a buzz about the country. You know what, we’ve got nothing to lose.”
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Edgar’s presence in the Canada team which faces last year’s Gold Cup winners is a bitter/sweet experience for United who, despite manager Nigel Adkins’ insistence that “people representing their countries reflects well on the club”, now lose him for their forthcoming fixtures against Crewe Alexandra and Southend. With fellow defender and loanee Alex Baptiste nursing a hamstring problem, Edgar’s absence illustrates the unfairness of forcing third and fourth tier clubs to play through the international break while their Championship and Premier League counterparts benefit from a week off.
Co-hosts Canada finished bottom of their group in most recent Gold Cup after drawing two and losing one of their three games but Edgar, a veteran of nearly 40 caps, said: “Without scoring any goals we still played well. The manager now has got us very compact and very organised, the Gold Cup was almost a transition building into the World Cup qualifiers.”
A sell-out 50,000 crowd is set to descend upon the BC Stadium for the first leg of the double-header against Mexico while the Azteca boasts a capacity of 98,500.
“It should be an amazing experience but we are going into the games with a job to do,” Edgar said. “Not to simply soak it all up. The game in Canada is going really well and, if we can get there then it will help even more.”