Scott Arfield: Canada call was best decision for Scotland-born midfielder

Scott Arfield
Scott Arfield could win his seventh Canada cap against Scotland
International friendly: Scotland v Canada
Date: Wednesday, 22 March Venue: Easter Road, Edinburgh Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Burnley midfielder Scott Arfield says electing to play for Canada rather than Scotland was the "best" decision.

West Lothian-born Arfield, 28, represented Scotland at under-19, under-21 and B level.

However, he was not selected for the senior squad and won the first of his six Canada caps last year.

"I'm happy that I've taken this opportunity," said Arfield, who is in the Canada squad to face Scotland on Wednesday evening.

"You have a dream that you want to play for Scotland. As you get older, your career takes you in different places.

"When the call never came, my mind was made up maybe three years [ago] to the day.

"I just knew that this was going to be the best for me and my family, to take this decision, to progress the career in the latter years, that Canada would be the best place for me.

"Every camp that I've been in since has reiterated that decision's a good one."

Arfield, who qualifies to play for Canada through his father, insists any media clamour to have him in the Scotland squad "never affected" him.

He spoke to Scotland coach Gordon Strachan before switching allegiance, something he "appreciated".

"It wasn't until I became 22, 23 that I realised what a good opportunity I've got here [with Canada]," he said.

"There's no animosity. It wasn't a second choice for myself to do this. I certainly never did it out of spite. I just thought this was the best decision.

"There's no animosity between me and the manager, whatsoever."

And, of Wednesday's match, he said: "It's a unique one, it's a very strange one as well but one I'm certainly looking forward to."

Luca Gasparotto, who plays for Arfield's former club Falkirk, could make his Canada debut at Easter Road on Wednesday and said: "Hopefully, I should get on the pitch at some point, whether it be from the start or off the bench, and make my full debut.

Luca Gasparotto
Gasparotto's Falkirk are second in the Scottish Championship

"I've been waiting for it to come for a couple of years now but it would be pretty fitting if I was to make my debut here.

"It would be extra special to do it in Scotland because it's my adopted home now. I think I'm ready for international football now. I've been playing at first-team level now for a few years and been involved with the national team five or six times."

Michael Findlay is in interim charge of Canada with Ecuadorian Octavio Zambrano taking over later this year.

Findlay said: "We have to be realistic. This is a Scotland side currently in World Cup qualifying, so they will bring a lot of tempo and commitment to prove to their manager they should be involved on Sunday [in the World Cup qualifier against Slovenia].

"However, we think we have the quality that can get us a result. We're very positive."


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