Dwayne De Rosario can play for Canada

Updated: May 4, 2011, 9:48 PM ET
By Jeff Carlisle | ESPN.com

New York Red Bulls manager Hans Backe says he won't stand in the way of Dwayne De Rosario representing Canada at this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Backe caused a stir earlier this week when he told the New York Post that he didn't think the Red Bulls midfielder would play in the biennial tournament.

"I think [De Rosario] has turned that down," Backe told the Post. "I would be very surprised if he went for the national team. You never know, but I'm fairly sure we will have him."

This came as something of a shock to Canada national team manager Stephen Hart, who indicated on a conference call that De Rosario's decision "was news to me."

De Rosario, who has appeared 56 times for Canada, later told MLSSoccer.com, "I 100 percent want to play for Canada. I would definitely like to play for my country this summer." With FIFA regulations stating that the Red Bulls have to release De Rosario for the tournament if he's selected, there was little that Backe could do.

Backe indicated Wednesday he wouldn't prevent De Rosario from joining up with his international teammates when the tournament starts in early June.

"When I talked to De Rosario [Wednesday], I said, 'Of course, if you have to play the Gold Cup, you have to play the Gold Cup.'"

Backe indicated that the reason for the confusion was that he was operating under some false assumptions.

"I was probably wrong," he said. "I said earlier this year, when we had a talk in the club, that we would never, ever sign a player who was involved with [his] national team because looking at the Gold Cup... we would be minus five, six starters. So I thought that was sorted out before De Rosario signed, but it wasn't."

Backe added that since De Rosario had played in only three of Canada's last 14 internationals, he was under the impression that the player was not particularly interested in representing his country, a notion that De Rosario has rejected.

The Red Bulls are already set to lose the likes of Mexico's Rafael Marquez, Costa Rica's Roy Miller, Jamaica's Dane Richards, as well as U.S. internationals Tim Ream and Juan Agudelo. Backe indicated he is now bracing himself for De Rosario's absence.

Canada will open the tournament on June 7 against the U.S. at Detroit's Ford Field. This will be followed by games against Guadeloupe on June 11 and then Panama three days later. The tournament runs until June 25, when the final will be contested in Pasadena, Calif., at the Rose Bowl.

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPNsoccernet.

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