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.”

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