TORONTO (AP) — Toronto defender Doneil Henry will miss the World Cup with a torn calf sustained during warmups in a pre-tournament exhibition against Bahrain.
Atiba Hutchinson, a 39-year-old midfielder and Canada’s captain, was among 26 players picked for the roster Sunday by coach John Herdman. The only player on the roster alive during Canada’s last World Cup appearance in 1986, Hutchinson made his first appearance of the season for Turkey’s Beşiktaş on Wednesday after recovering from a bone bruise.
Henry, who played in eight of 20 qualifiers, became the third Canadian player to miss the tournament with an injury after goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau, who broke a leg playing for Los Angeles in Major League Soccer’s championship match, and defender Scott Kennedy, who injured a shoulder playing for Regensburg on Oct. 29.
“He just felt a little bit of tightness,” Herdman said. “He tried to push it a little bit further. It sort of led to a maybe a tear in the there. ... He just wasn’t able to create any explosivity out of the calf.”
Henry, 29, has 44 international appearances. Herdman said recovery time is up to 14 days and Henry will work with the coaching staff during the tournament.
“It really shows the courage and what this brotherhood’s about when a man can sort of surrender his shirt and take that step forward to support the team in a different role,” Herdman said.
Canada plays Japan in an exhibition on Thursday at Dubai, United Arab Emirates, then opens Group F play against Belgium on Nov. 23, before facing Croatia four days later and Morocco on Dec. 1.
Hutchinson, who played in 11 qualifiers, started a Turkish Cup match against Serik Belediyespor and played until the 70th minute.
“For a guy who hasn’t played since June in a preseason friendly, I thought his performance through 45 minutes was where it needed to be at this stage,” Herdman said. “It was against the second-division team. So sometimes it’s difficult to see — the challenge is going to look a bit different when you’ve got (Kevin) De Bruyne, (Axel) Witsel and (Youri) Tielemans in there against Belgium.”
Herdman was hoping to see Hutchinson play only a half.
“We weren’t overly excited about Atiba playing extra minutes in this game,” Herdman said. “He needed the time to recover.”
Because of Henry’s injury, Hutchinson could see time in central defense rather than midfield.
“His experience puts him potentially ahead of some of the other centerbacks,” Herdman said.
Toronto midfielder Jonathan Osorio, who has 56 international appearances, is on the roster after playing 90 minutes in Friday’s exhibition at Bahrain, his first full match since Aug. 20 after recovering from post-concussion syndrome.
Montreal midfielder Ismael Koné is the youngest player at 20.
“He’s definitely holding that ‘If you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ tag,” Herdman said.
Eleven players are from Major League Soccer, including six from Montreal.
“It’s a huge advantage,” Herdman said. “These players have fought together in the club environment. They’ve grown in confidence. There’s obviously some chemistry there. They understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Three players are from Toronto and one each from Minnesota and Vancouver. Three are based in Belgium, two each in France, Portugal and Turkey, and one apiece in England, Germany, Greece, Scotland, Serbia and Switzerland.
Players dropped included defenders Zachary Brault-Guillard, Raheem Edwards, Doneil Henry and Lukas MacNaughton (Toronto); midfielder Mathieu Choiniere; and forwards Ayo Akinola, Jayden Nelson and Jacob Shaffelburg.
Goalkeepers: Milan Borjan (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia), Dayne St. Clair (Minnesota), James Pantemis (Montreal)
Defenders: Samuel Adekugbe (Hatayspor, Turkey), Derek Cornelius (Panetolikos, Greece), Alistair Johnston (Montreal), Richie Laryea (Toronto), Kamal Miller (Montreal), Steven Vitória (Chaves, Portugal), Joel Waterman (Montreal)
Midfielders: Stephen Eustáquio (Porto, Portugal), Liam Fraser (Deinze, Belgium), Atiba Hutchinson (Beşiktaş, Turkey), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Toronto), Ismael Kone (Montreal), Jonathan Osorio (Toronto), Samuel Piette (Montreal), David Wotherspoon (St Johnstone, Scotland)
Forwards: Tajon Buchanan (Club Brugge, Belgium), Lucas Cavallini (Vancouver); Jonathan David (Lille, France), Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich, Germany), Junior Hoilett (Reading, England), Cyle Larin (Club Brugge, Belgium), Liam Millar (Basel, Switzerland), Iké Ugbo (Troyes, France)
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The Associated Press