By By Neil Davidson
THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO _ Canadian under-20 coach Rob Gale has summoned Calgary-born Fikayo Tomori, a member of Chelsea’s under-21 team, for a 10-day camp in Mexico this month.
The camp, which will include a pair of friendlies against the Mexican under-20 side, is part of Canada’s preparation for qualifying for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea.
The Canadian camp runs Nov. 9-18 with friendlies Nov. 13 and 15 against Mexico in Mexico City.
Tomori, whose parents were born in Nigeria, was less than a year old when his family moved to England. He joined Chelsea at the under-eight level, rising through the ranks, and signed a pro contract in July 2015, which commits him to the club until the end of the 2017-18 season.
He was part of the Chelsea squad that won the UEFA Youth League in April.
“He’s a hidden gem, really,” Gale said Wednesday from Winnipeg. “We hope he comes in and enjoys what we’re about and commits to us for the international football scene.”
“He’s doing very well in his football environment and he’s a very interesting prospect for us,” Gale added.
He was slated to attend a Canadian under-20 camp in September but was unable to come because of a back injury.
Tomori is not committing to Canada by attending the camp. He would if he took part in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, which is what Gale’s squad is building towards.
“It’s definitely infancy stages. But we’re very pleased to be able to bring him in and offer him the opportunity.”
The Mexico camp roster also includes midfielder-forward Josh Doughty from Manchester United’s under-21 program and midfielder Harrison Paton from Fulham’s under-18 academy.
The academies from all three Canadian MLS teams are also represented. One more player is expected to be called in.
Canada had not taken part in the world under-20 championship since it hosted the event in 2007, exiting without scoring a goal or registering a point.
Canada failed to qualify for the 2015 U-20 World Cup when it went 1-4-0 at the CONCACAF championship in Jamaica in January.
Mexico, Honduras, Panama and the U.S, represented North and Central America and the Caribbean at the FIFA U-20 tournament won by Serbia in New Zealand this summer.
CONCACAF has yet to announce the timing of its under-20 qualifying tournament but Gale expects it to be either January or March of 2017.
Goalkeepers: Philip Di Bennardo, Toronto FC 2; James Pantemis, Montreal Impact Academy.
Defenders: Thomas Meilleur Giguere, Montreal Impact Academy; Mateo Restrepo, FC Ingolstadt 04 (Germany); Toronto FC Academy; Fikayo Tomori, Chelsea FC U-21 (England); Gabriel Boakye, Toronto FC 2; Kadin Chung, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2; Marcus Godinho, Toronto FC 2.
Midfielders: Tristan Borges, Toronto FC 2; David Choiniere, Montreal Impact Academy; Joshua Doughty, Manchester United U-21 (Chelsea); Duwayne Ewart, Vaughan SC; Harrison Paton, Fulham FC U-18 Academy (England); Shamit Shome, University of Alberta; Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla, Montreal Impact Academy; Luca Uccello, Toronto FC 2.
Forwards: Dario Zanatta, Hearts of Midlothian (Scotland).