Spotlighting Victor Loturi, Dominick Zator & Tom McGill: Canada’s 3 uncapped players called up by John Herdman
John Herdman’s first post-World Cup squad was a case of “in with the old, in with the new.”
The Canadian men’s national team head coach announced his 23-man roster ahead of CONCACAF Nations League matches against Curaçao and Honduras later this month.
Amongst a list of many familiar names, three uncapped players were selected.
Two former Canadian Premier League players, Poland Ekstraklasa’s Korona Kielce defender Dominick Zator and Ross County midfielder Victor Loturi, and Brighton and Hove Albion’s under-21 goalkeeper Tom McGill will be looking to make their national team debuts.
Zator – formerly of York United and Cavalry FC – bet on himself by making the move abroad to Poland and it seems the wager is paying off.
“I decided to gamble on myself, go over there,” Zator told CanPL.ca. “It is a new atmosphere. There were a lot of different roadblocks I kind of had to go through. But things kind of started working out. I was able to fight for a starting spot on the squad. The team is doing well and I think that has personally helped me succeed and I think it has been enough to catch the eye of John Herdman. So, I’m excited for how everything has kind of turned out.”
Related read: Five surprise inclusions in John Herdman’s latest CanMNT squad
The six-foot-two centre-back will be a welcomed addition given his versatility to play different positions, because of how Herdman likes to be tactically fluid, especially with his defenders, occasionally shifting to a back four from his usual back three set-up.
Zator was called up in 2019 but didn’t get playing time. He will be going in with a different mentality this time around.
“The goal is to not just go into this camp as a participant,” said the Calgary native. “I’m very happy to get the call up now but the work is not done, it is now going there to showcase my abilities and show John Herdman and the coaching staff that I should be on the pitch now.”
Zator’s former Calvary FC teammate Loturi, who now plays in Scotland with Ross County, earned his first CanMNT call-up thanks to some impressive performances in the Scottish Premiership.
The Calgary native’s drive and motivation to be selected by Herdman came from his former CPL teammates.
“Of course, coming from the CPL, some of my teammates — Joel Waterman, Dominick Zator, and [Marco] Carducci — I’ve seen them do it when I was younger, and I’ve always had aspirations of making the national team,” Loturi told CanPL.ca. “I didn’t know how it would happen, what I would have to do but kept working and it finally came and I’m just super excited. It hasn’t really hit yet but I think once I get there it will properly hit. It’s just a big moment for me and my family, and my friends that have been with me this whole way so I’m just so excited.”
With the depth and experience in midfield with the likes of FC Porto’s Stephen Eustáquio, Watford FC’s Ismaël Koné, and Toronto FC’s Jonathon Osorio, it may be tough for Loturi to make an appearance for Canada in their upcoming matches.
That doesn’t mean that he won’t be a valuable addition to the squad. If anything, Herdman appreciates players who use the CPL at a young age to develop their talent and use the league as a springboard for new challenges.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Victor in our environment, and Dominick Zator,” said Herdman in his media availability on Wednesday. “These are players who have progressed out of our Canadian Premier League and have taken a risk to go over to Europe and getting experiences that I think [Canadians] who have taken that jump have not always found easy.
Related read: ‘We’re the hunted now’: Canada coach John Herdman talks changing attitudes, higher quality
Also, with the retirement rumours swirling around Atiba Hutchinson, there is no better time for Loturi to showcase why he should be a regular member of the team.
Between the sticks, meanwhile, Canadian fans will not be very familiar with Tom McGill, who has spent all of his young career so far playing in England. He currently represents Brighton and Hove Albion’s under-21 side in the English Premier League 2.
The Belleville, Ontario native has already featured for England’s youth side but now has chosen to switch his allegiance to Canada with hopes of being Les Rouges’ number one down the line.
The addition of McGill may have come as a surprise to many, but seeing the recent positive track record Brighton has shown in developing young talent, it makes sense why Herdman would want to get a closer look at the young keeper.
Not only has gained valuable experience playing in England since he was 14 years old, but playing in the academy for a side that has been a regular in the English Premier League has given McGill a chance to learn from EPL legends like Petr Čech.
Whether any of these three players will get some playing time is unknown, but being part of this camp will give them the opportunity to showcase their abilities up close for Herdman and make a case to be regular call-ups in the future.
Whatever happens this window, giving chances to previously untested players like Zator, Loturi, and McGill is all part of CanMNT’s new post-World Cup era.