Alphonso Davies will be fully fit to face Belgium on Wednesday as Canada prepare for their first World Cup game in 36 years, coach John Herdman confirmed on Tuesday.
Bayern Munich star Davies, Canada’s most potent attacking weapon, has been struggling to regain full fitness after suffering a hamstring strain earlier this month.
However Canada’s English coach Herdman told reporters on Tuesday that the 22-year-old would line-up against the Red Devils in the two sides’ Group F game at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.
“I don’t think there was any doubt we’d be starting him,” Herdman said at a pre-match press conference when asked about Davies’ fitness.
“But you’ve got to follow the medical advice. Our goal first and foremost was the safety of the players, and that’s paramount. So we’ve had to manage that process.
“When you speak to the player you have to look into their eyes and get a sense of what they can and can’t do and how far they can push.
“At the end of the day Phonzy’s fit now –- he’s hit his markers, he’s ready to go. He was flying in training yesterday and enjoying himself. He has that smile on his face.”
Canada’s preparations for the World Cup, where they also face Morocco and Croatia in the first round, have been beset by injury problems in the weeks leading into the tournament.
Midfielder Stephen Eustaquio and first-choice goalkeeper Milan Borjan have also been struggling with knocks but Herdman said both would be available to face Belgium.
“Canada now are in a position where we can field our strongest team,” Herdman said.
“Everyone’s came through well, so it’s exciting times for us now. The dark clouds have shifted. We’re going into our last training session now (before Wednesday) where we’re all at 100 percent.”
Canada have not played in the World Cup since their qualification for the 1986 finals.
Herdman is making history in Qatar where he will become the first man to coach national teams at both the women’s and men’s World Cups.
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