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Stalteri focus on Canada, not club woes


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Will paste, because often such web articles disappear, and htis should be archived.


Stalteri focus on Canada, not club woes

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Paul Stalteri will captain Canada in their upcoming qualifiers.RelatedJohnston blog:

A confident bunch


MONTREAL -- Paul Stalteri is the captain of Canada's men's soccer team and a key player in the team's bid to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

But his star is fading on his club side in the English Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur.

The right back from Toronto is among a group of Spurs players who've been relegated to the reserve squad. His No. 7 now appears under the name of midfielder Aaron Lennon.

Stalteri wants to move on to a new club, but so far, no deal has materialized.

"I was looking for a new club," he said Wednesday. "I'm not going to say much about what's going on behind the scenes right now. There are two or three different situations where I probably had a very good chance of moving on.

"It hasn't worked out for one thing or another. It's a bit frustrating at the moment, that's the most I'm prepared to say."

The 30-year-old saw no action in Spurs' opening three matches of the Premiership (two losses and a draw) but the upside is that he is keeping busy preparing for a key World Cup qualifier on Saturday night against Honduras at Saputo Stadium (Sportsnet, 8 p.m. ET).

Four days later, there's an even tougher test as Canada plays in Mexico.

"I'm concentrating on these World Cup qualifying games right now, especially with these next two games," he said. "In this business, you don't know what's going to happen from week to week, let alone from season to season.

"I have a year left on my contract, then we'll see what happens."

National team coach Dale Mitchell likes his players to stay sharp with regular playing time in high level matches with their clubs. But inactivity won't put him off using Stalteri, a stalwart on national sides since he was selected for age group competitions in the early 1990s.

"It happens with some of our players from time to time that they're playing regular with their club and then something happens and maybe they're out of favour," said Mitchell. "We'd obviously prefer if everyone's playing matches with their clubs, but at the same time, we're trying to build a team here and we can't change players just because they're not getting 90 minutes with their club."

Stalteri began his pro career with the Toronto Lynx of the United Soccer Leagues, then moved to Werder Bremen, where his club won the double -- the Bundesliga championship and German Cup -- in 2003-'04. He moved to Tottenham in 2005.

Last season, Spurs loaned him to Fulham in January and he helped the struggling west London club stay in the Premiership.

"It was a good three or four months where I got to play week in, week out," he said. "And it all worked out in the end -- the team stayed up.

"It's a nice little club and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there."

He came back to a Tottenham side in flux. In recent days, it has sold unhappy Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov to Manchester United and signed Roman Pavlyuchenko from Spartak Moscow in multi-million dollar deals.

Spurs also signed Croatian defender Vedran Corluka to go with a handful of other new arrivals who pushed players like Stalteri, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Lee Young-pyo out of the picture.

"Fortunately for me, we've got games being played here and I can get some very important games in," said Stalteri. "I'm fully concentrated on this right now.

"After that, I'll get back (to London) in 10 days or so and we'll see what happens."

Canada reached the group stage of World Cup qualifying when it pounded lowly St. Vincent and the Grenadines 7-1 on aggregate in a two-game series in June.

.That bought it a spot in the toughest of three groups in CONCACAF -- North and Central America plus the Caribbean. Canada will play two games each against Mexico, Honduras and Jamaica, with the top two advancing to the final qualifying round next year.

Among CONCACAF countries, Mexico is ranked second behind the United States, Honduras is third and Canada is fifth.

Canada opened with a 1-1 tie against Jamaica in Toronto on Aug. 20 in which it led 1-0 but then gave up a goal off a corner kick to the Reggae Boyz. Mexico opened with a 2-1 win over Honduras.

This time, Canada will be looking for three points against a much stronger Honduran side.

"You want to win all your home games," said midfielder Patrice Bernier. "We got a draw against Jamaica but we can't hang our heads.

"It's one game. Now we need to win this one and keep Honduras behind us in the standings."

Meanwhile, striker Ali Gerba has finally received his British visa and will join Milton Keynes after Canada's games against Honduras and Mexico. Gerba signed with the Football League One club in the summer, but has been unable to play for them.

`I'm looking forward to it," said Gerba. "They know I'm coming and everything's OK."

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quote:Originally posted by trueviking

the guy is total class...i feel so bad for him...he never has a disparaging remark about his situation, no matter how unfair.

i hope he finds a new home soon.

Yeah, he never bothered beaking off about his lack of first time opportunities so good on him.

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