Fulham teenager impresses at Canada camp


For Luc de Fougerolles, this has been an interesting week, and it’s not nearly over.

The London-born defender, who is eligible for Canada due to his father’s Canadian citizenship, celebrated his 18th birthday in Japan while donning Canadian national team uniforms for the first time. On Friday in Niigata, De Fougerolles and the 44th-ranked Canadians play an international friendly against No. 19 Japan.

The adolescent Fulham player is well-known to interim Canada boss Mauro Biello, who brought him up to the Canadian under-20 squad twice already this year. However, COVID and examinations got in the way initially.

There were no barriers this time.

Lastly. It’s long overdue,” de Fougerolles remarked. “But I’m happy to be with the national team.”

Despite having frequent communication with Biello, it has been quite the trip, and the call-up to the senior team was quite unexpected.

The father of De Fougerolles, Jean, is originally from Montreal and moved to London for his studies before settling in England.

Fulham and Chelsea had both seen a young Luc. He had a tryout at Chelsea at the age of six, after which he returned to Fulham and joined the Cottagers’ under-eight squad.

“I’ve lived in Fulham, whose Craven Cottage residence is situated on the Thames River, for the most part of my life, getting to know the locals and enjoying it,” de Fougerolles remarked.

Growing up, he was a Fulham supporter and enjoyed watching former Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta.

He is currently a consistent starter for Premier League 2, which consists of clubs from the Premier League under-21. Additionally, he played against Chelsea and Aston Villa in the Premier League’s preseason U.S. trip this summer.

“A huge improvement. having the opportunity to play men’s football, which is undoubtedly beneficial for me,” de Fougerolles, who has also practised with the first squad, stated.

An excellent improvement. having the opportunity to play men’s football, which is undoubtedly beneficial for me,” de Fougerolles, who has also practised with the first squad, stated.

Biello is already thrilled with De Fougerolles, who has made multiple trips to Canada to see family.

From Japan, Biello stated on Thursday, “He’s done really well.” “A small child, he fits right in. On the ball, he exudes bravery and confidence. Defensively, he’s fearless. It’s a great idea to introduce him to the surroundings. He was a perfect fit.

Playing both centre back and right back, De Fougerolles received his first professional deal in April. He is at ease with the ball.

“I like to have the ball at my feet and I like to play out,” he stated.

I enjoy playing out and having the ball at my feet,” he remarked.

Canada Soccer excused their country’s absence from the FIFA September international window by citing “financial constraints” and their “inability to confirm an additional high-quality opponent.”

Thus, the Canadian men’s team’s encounter with Japan is their only prelude to two pivotal CONCACAF Nations League games in November that act as Copa America qualifying matchups.

Japan, the top-seeded team in Asia, defeated No. 42 Turkey (4-1) and No. 15 Germany (4-2) in September. Additionally, four days after the Canada match, it takes on No. 29 Tunisia in Kobe as it prepares for the commencement of its 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign in November and the Asian

At the Denka Big Swan Stadium in Niigata, Canada’s custodian Milan Borjan will serve as captain. As he did for Bayern Munich, Alphonso Davies is anticipated to start at left fullback instead of in a more forward-attacking position.

However, Stephen Eustaquio, a crucial midfield player, is injured and will miss the match. According to Biello, Eustaquio wasn’t considered able to participate after suffering a knock during a weekend match against FC Porto of Portugal.

Eustaquio went back home to recuperate from his injury. Canada declined to provide a replacement, citing logistical challenges in getting a replacement to Japan in time.

Canada’s only defeat in Niigata came in the 2001 Confederations Cup, as they were defeated 3-0 by Japan. Among Biello’s assistant coaches was Paul Stalteri, a Canadian

The top four teams in the Nations League—Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Costa Rica—have been seeded directly into the two-leg quarterfinals. The winners there advance to both the Nations League finals in March and the Copa America in 2024.

To decide the final two CONCACAF teams at Copa America, the quarterfinal losers will square off in two play-in games.

Canada Soccer said on Thursday that BMO Field in Toronto will host the home-and-away quarterfinal’s return leg on November 21. It will be decided who Canada’s opponent is during the October international window.

The Canadian men are 4-2-2 this year; they last participated in a CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal in Cincinnati in July, when they were defeated by the United States in a penalty shootout. Every 2023

At the World Cup last year, the Japanese emerged victorious from their group, defeating Germany and Spain 2-1 and Costa Rica 1-0 in between. However, they were eliminated in the round of 16 by No. 6 Croatia after a penalty shootout.

In their first men’s World Cup appearance in thirty-six years, Canada lost to No. 5 Belgium, No. 13 Morocco, and Croatia in the opening round, and they were eliminated from Qatar.

—On the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, follow @NeilMDavidson.

The Canadian Press originally released this report on October 12, 2023.

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