Canadian Men’s National Team forward Tajon Buchanan faces arguably the most crucial game of his life against Uruguay on Tuesday.
Sure, the clash in Bratislava, Slovakia, is just a mere friendly. However, it’s the CanMNT’s last match before John Herdman names his roster for the nation’s first World Cup since 1986 and second-ever.
And for Buchanan, it’s a chance to return to the field for the first time since Club Brugge’s match against Anderlecht in May after nursing a quad injury. Now, the 23-year-old must prove to Herdman that he’s fit and ready for Qatar 2022 – as he’ll continue to do when he returns to Belgium following this international break.
“I was injured for two months, so it’s been a tough process but now that I feel good again, I can start training and get some games in. I feel good, so I am happy,” Buchanan said on Sunday. “I was just in warm-ups in the first game of the season — a [Belgian] Super Cup game — and I took a shot in warmups and I felt something in my quad. Ever since then, it’s been an up-and-down journey.
“I tried to come back in training and hurt it again so it was a tough period, but I am good now and ready to play some games.”
It was quite a surprise to see Buchanan travel with the national team considering he hasn’t managed a single appearance for Brugge this season.
However, it’s vital the 23-year-old gets minutes not just for the World Cup, but to prepare him for the rest of the Belgian season, and Herdman has praised the First Division A champions for their handling of Buchanan’s situation.
“I think Brugge have done a good job the last few weeks getting him ready to return to play,” Herdman said. “And for a player, a first injury, it takes time to trust your body again. He had some good moments [on Sunday] and he fit right back into our structure.”
Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.