The spoken desire of Jonathan de Guzman to play for the Netherlands national team is nothing new. We all know that back in 2008 he gave up his Canadian citizenship in favour of a Dutch one and declared his interest in playing for their national program. Since then he has gotten some looks from the lower level national programs but has yet to get a single sniff from the senior team.
So when a few months back his older brother, Julian de Guzman, came out and said his brother was considering playing for Canada it sounded like he had decided to give up on the dream of playing for a Dutch team that is very unlikely to ever give him a single cap, let alone a good run in the side. Playing for Canada seemed to be a lot more likely option and would give him the playing time that he was lacking at Villarreal. Playing for a national team would also help to increase his profile a bit more in Europe.
It was not just Julian talking though when he made those comments to James Sharman of TheScore. His younger brother was indeed looking into getting back his Canadian passport and playing for the national team. If you are mad at Julian for leading Canadian fans just stop. He is not the one to blame in all of this because he pulls on that red shirt and gives his all every time Stephen Hart calls him up. I fully believe that he thought his brother was genuinely interested in playing for Canada when he made those comments and at the time that might have been true.
That all changed last night though when Jonathan finally spoke to Canadian media himself. It was again James Sharman who was on the spot to bring news that broke the hearts that he had filled with so much hope only a few months ago. Jonathan told Sharman, "I heard a lot of stories saying that I was going to commit to the Canadian National team and strap up on the red and whites. I was thinking about it but it wasn't really concrete. I think it blew out of proportion at that time and I made it clear in Europe and I already made it clear, I think, everywhere in the world that I chose for the Dutch National team in 2008 and at this point right now I am still taking the Dutch National team."
I am going to call bullshit right now!Simple fact of the matter is that those comments smell like a nice pile of waste. If you believe that it was all just a story that blown out of proportion by Canadians just hoping for some good news than feel free to take JDG2's word at face value but it might be worth looking back over the past few months to know some of how we got here.
If it was just a passing interest in seeing if he could get his passport back like JDG2 makes it out to be, then was Hart lying when he told Canadian media that they were working with the player and the appropriate parts of the government to make this happen? He was not. The CSA was in fact working to trying and restore the player's eligibility to play for Canada which would have involved giving up his Dutch passport and trying to have his Canadian passport restored. That process was reportedly going on behind closed doors the past couple of months and may even have been completed already.
If that was all set to wrap up in the coming weeks then JDG2 could have been available to play for the team in the fall. All he would have had to do was sign on the dotted line and become a Canadian again. That is probably where things went off the rails despite what the player said last night. For JDG2 signing on that dotted line would have been a very big deal though as it would have meant giving up his EU passport and limiting his playing options at a time when he is in the midst of trying to find a new club. Maybe when he started the process he was hoping he could find a way to play for Canada and keep his EU passport? He may have been less worried about it at the time thinking that his club future was more secure at Villarreal than it actually was. Either way though, something changed and Jonathan realized that keeping his EU passport was more important than ever playing for Canada.
At this stage, the player has basically decided that his club playing future is more important than ever playing for any national team. Despite his stated aim of making the Dutch team for the next World Cup qualifying cycle as part of a new generation JDG2 must realize that at 24 years of age even a complete overhaul of the squad would not guarantee him a place. He made just 10 youth appearances for the Dutch and has not been with the team at any level since 2008 so it would seem that he has fallen well off of their radar. He would rather wait and hope for that call-up though than become a key player for Canada.
The slap in the face from the interview, more so than his Canadian centennial jacket, was the fact that he pointed out how much he and Junior Hoillet would actually improve the national team. He may be right about that but by saying he would walk right into the squad and make them better he is showing no respect to a group that includes his older brother. His comments were not about coming in and helping the guys already on the team reach their goal of making the World Cup but instead came across as him saying he is just that much better than the players in the squad.
In the end, I just wish that Jonathan had come out and told the full truth last night. Like all cases of players choosing to play for a different country, there is a unique story and in some cases that story will likely never be able to come out in public. This is not one of those cases though. There is no reason that JDG2 could not come out and say that he is not willing to sacrifice his club future for the chance to play for Canada. It would have hurt just as much to hear but then he might just have held on to a sliver of respect. Now though, I really hope he does not change his mind again. The CSA has done their part to try and bring him in but now might just be the time to close that door.