Liam Millar left Liverpool after five years with the club last summer, and the 22-year-old is now thriving at Basel and part of Canada’s historic World Cup group.
Sunday night saw Canada book their place at Qatar 2022 with a 4-0 victory over Jamaica, with strikes from Cyle Larin, Tajon Buchanan, Junior Hoilett and an Adrian Mariappa own goal.
Doing so without Alphonso Davies – who has not played at all this year due to a heart problem – Canada reached the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
That tournament in Mexico, 36 years ago, was the only other time Canada have been represented at the World Cup.
It was a historic moment, then, and among the players celebrating on the field at a sold-out BMO Field in Toronto was Millar, who was among 15 to leave Liverpool last summer.
Millar spent five years with the Reds, largely within the academy, after joining from Fulham in 2016, settling as a key figure for the under-23s and at times wearing the captain’s armband.
But with his options limited, Millar gambled on himself and joined Swiss club Basel in a £1.3 million deal in July, and has since taken up a regular role at St Jakob-Park.
So far this season, the forward has made 41 appearances for his new side, scoring nine goals and laying on five assists.
Basel sit second in the Swiss Super League, 12 points behind leaders FC Zurich with nine games left to play.
It is likely, then, that Millar will be playing in the Europa Conference League again next season, with only one Champions League spot reserved for the Swiss champions.
But either way, it is a big year ahead for the youngster, who has already played 15 times for Canada including four appearances in the World Cup qualifiers.
He is almost certain to be named in John Herdman’s squad for the winter tournament in Qatar, which would be a major boost to his career after missing the 2021 Gold Cup.
Millar was already a staple for Canada prior to his switch to Basel, but now he finds himself a settled, first-team regular who could challenge for a starting spot for his country in the near future.
That they are making history in the process is a big step forward for the 22-year-old.