The Vancouver Whitecaps can expect to have all of Kenny Miller’s attention from here on out, that’s because his days of representing the Tartan Army are over.
33-year-old Miller’s retirement from international soccer was announced earlier today ahead of Scotland manager Gordon Strachan naming his squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Belgium and Macedonia.
Miller scored a terrific goal in his final game for Scotland, in the 3-2 defeat to England at Wembley on August 15. The former Hibernian, Glasgow Rangers, Celtic, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Cardiff City striker has been in terrific form for the Whitecaps this campaign and he can now focus solely on helping Martin Rennie’s side make the playoffs for the second straight year.
The predatory striker scored 18 times in 69 games for Scotland, and has scored seven times in 15 games for Vancouver in the 2013 MLS season so far.
With his international retirement confirmed, Miller won’t have to worry about long jaunts back to the UK and across Europe to represent Scotland. Having settled tremendously well during his second season in MLS, the Edinburgh born striker has a leading role to play at BC Place.
This international retirement will help him play at club level longer, and other professionals such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Thierry Henry have played on well past their respective international retirements. However Miller’s contract is due to run out next year and talks are expected with Vancouver at the end of the 2013 campaign as to how they move forward.
But for most of this season, Miller has captained the Whitecaps in Jay DeMerit’s absence and with his goals and general play, the Scot has justified the big money the ‘Caps are paying him. His salary in the latest numbers released was $1.12 million, which was head and shoulders above the rest of Vancouver’s players. But he deserves it.
Some question marks were raised following his arrival in North America towards the end of the 2012 MLS season. Miller started just eight games and scored 2 goals for Rennie’s side that bowed out at the first round of the playoffs. Yet Miller has given Vancouver extra attacking impetus this year and has been a real thorn in the side for opposition defenses, he has always worked hard and certainly knows how to finish. His enthusiasm, belief and courage has ignited the ‘Caps offense into action this year and they’ve scored more goals than any other side in MLS as LA prepare to visit British Columbia this weekend.
He will go down as one of the best strikers in Scotland’s history and currently ranks as the country’s sixth highest goalscorer of all time and has also played the sixth highest number of games for Scotland.
A glittering international career has come to an end. Can Miller continue to be the leading man in Vancouver for years to come? Or is his international retirement just a precursor to his retirement from the game altogether after this season?