The Graduates: No 2.Terry Dunfield
- 05 October 2011 11:47
- Posted by Peter Ferguson
Terry Dunfield made the daunting teenage trek out of Canada to Europe long before Calgary's England and City midfielder Owen Hargreaves. But instead of heading for Germany and Bayern Munich, Terry packed his bags in his native Vancouver and flew to Manchester, arriving at the City Academy aged just 15.
Unfortunately, his courage and ambition were not too richly rewarded. Dunfield did break through into the senior side, but alas for just one match. While the last game of the 2001-2002 season will always be memorable for the then 19-year-old Canadian, who came off the bench to replace Northern Ireland midfielder Jeff Whitley after 36 minutes, it was a 2-1 home defeat by Chelsea and City were already doomed to finish 18th and suffer relegation from the top flight.
Manager Joe Royle made his exit a few days later, and while Royle clearly saw Dunfield's potential, he did not make the same impression on successor Kevin Keegan, who employed more experienced players to pursue an instant return to the Premier League.
Terry was loaned to Bury in the summer of 2002 after a year out of favour with Keegan, and he enjoyed his taste of regular first-team football so much the deal became permanent, with Dunfield staying at Gigg Lane for the next three years.
However, a broken kneecap led to serious problems. His contract was not renewed at Bury and an attempted comeback with Worcester wilted before surgery back in North America proved successful. Many months of rehab - four of them at City at the suggestion of Jim Cassell - allowed him to rescue a career that had a gap of more than two years but looked to be over at one stage.
Following a successful pre-season trial at Macclesfield in 2007, Terry finally returned to League action at the Moss Rose, doing well enough to be named player of the season come May.
Heads were turned, and in January 2009 Shrewsbury signed him for £65,000. His form the following season was good enough to earn the Canadian Under-21 player - who had also played for England at Under-18 level - a full cap against Venezuela, but that brought the end of his career in England.
A month later, having irked Shrewsbury by suggesting he needed a higher standard of football to keep his international place, he returned to Canada to join Vancouver Whitecaps and then in July this year was transferred to Toronto. But Dunfield has played seven times for Canada, scoring in a 2-2 friendly with Ecuador in June.