BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Rangers starlet Fraser Aird insists finally pledging his future to Canada can help him cement a place in Mark Warburton’s Ibrox plans.
Aird, 21, has been named in Benito Floro’s senior squad for the first-time after finally committing his future to the nation of his birth.
With Gedion Zelalem away with the USA’s under-23 side and Nathan Oduwa on England under-20s duty, Rangers made the decision to postpone their Petrofac Training Cup tie against Livingston, which was due to be played today.
Nevertheless, Aird has revealed Warburton has been nothing but supportive – and reckons starring for Canada can kick-start his club career.
The Toronto-born winger said: “The manager [Warburton] was delighted. He was supportive this year with me going away with Canada and knows that it’s a good experience for me.
“It can only make me better as a player at club level.”
Aird, who is eligible for this country through his grandparents, has made two appearances for Scotland at under-19 level and admits the choice to switch allegiances to Canada was a hard one.
He previously turned down a Canada call-up in 2013 when ex-Ger Colin Miller was national boss.
However, Aird continued: “I did have that choice [to play for Scotland] and it was tough, but I just thought that maybe I had a better chance to play for Canada – making more appearances and getting into the first team quicker.
“Hopefully this is my foot in the door, and I can establish myself and do well enough for Canada that I can contribute for years to come.
“I was called for the 2013 Gold Cup but I wasn’t really set on who I wanted to play for at the time. But as more time went by I realized I should make my decision sooner rather than later.
“I am 20 now and, as everyone knows, football is such a short career. I really didn’t want to waste any more time.”
Aird could make his debut in next Wednesday’s friendly against Ghana, before Canada face a crucial World Cup qualification double-header against El Salvador in November.
And the Ibrox youngster is already dreaming of booking a place at Russia 2018.
He told Sportsnet.ca: “It was actually [assistant coach] Michael Findlay who spoke to me a few times, and spoke to my dad, when I was making my decision.
“He put it out there that Canada wanted me to play for them, and that the team was looking to move forward, and obviously qualify for the World Cup.”