U.S. Men’s national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann spoke to the media on a Thursday afternoon conference call and touched in a wide range of subjects, from Landon Donovan to Jozy Altidore, Tim Chandler and the national team’s centerback options.
Here is a rundown of the highlights:
When asked about Landon Donovan’s recent comments about his mental state, and status with the national team, Klinsmann praised Donovan for being courageous enough to talk so openly, and made it clear the door is still very much open for Donovan on the national team.
“I find it really courageous of him to talk openly about what’s going through his mind,” Klinsmann said. “I can understand all of those thoughts and try to understand his personal situation, which I do with every player.”
“It’s really down to him, what he wants to further achieve in his career, what he wants to do,” Klinsmann said of Donovan’s national team future. “Whatever he decides to do will be very respected by us.”
When asked about out-of-favor U.S. striker Jozy Altidore, Klinsmann was uncharacteristically abrupt:
“We’ve had no further contact since then and I haven’t made up my mind if I will call him in for Russia.”
Klinsmann did reveal that he has been in touch with Timmy Chandler, who has yet to play for the national team since Klinsmann became head coach.
“I have been in contact with him. It’s similar to Landon. They have to make their own decisions sooner or later,” Klinsmann said. “Timmy knows that. He’s going through his learning years in the Bundesliga, and he’s maturing. He’s getting more experience and getting more focused. We are in touch and we respect his decisions so far, but the World Cup is coming along pretty soon. It’s totally up to him how fast the decision on his end will be made.”
When asked about the U.S. Men’s National team centerback pool, and whether he was concerned about depth at the position, Klinsmann sounded confident that he had the necessary cover at the position and mentioned a long list of players who could be competing for the position in the coming year.
“I feel comfortable with it,” Klinsmann said of the team’s defensive depth. “I think we saw a very impressive year by Geoff Cameron. Not only with the Houston Dynamo, and now with Stoke, but also inour environment. He has fought his way into the team and now he seems to be set at the centerback roll.
“Obviously you have Oguchi Onyewu, who actually played now his first game for Malaga, 90 minutes. Carlos (Bocanegra), the captain, is always giving the experience he has, and Clarence Goodson is there as well. I mentioned a few times that I think Maurice Edu is a possible centerback going forward.”
“So no, it’s going okay. I still think there are some other players in the loop as well. Coming through in MLS like an Omar Gonzalez or a Matt Besler. Or Tim Ream, that plays now again for Bolton Wanderers. We have a good amount of guys fighting for the centerback position.”
When asked about the status of a January camp, Klinsmann
“We’re right now discussing the entire approach for January, which is a bit tricky (because) we don’t have the schedule yet so we want to wait till next week when we finally have the schedule for qualifying.”
“We are always looking for new faces. We want to dig into the MLS player pool and see where the players are. We also want to help the generation from the Under-23s that have been through a tough year not qualifying for London.”
“There is a big case to be made for the January camp.”
These are just some of the key topics Klinsmann touched on. Overall, Klinsmann had high praise for MLS, and the developing talent coming through the league. He also pointed to the summer of 2013 as an important time with World Cup qualifying and the Gold Cup taking place.
The January camp situation is an interesting one. It sounds like the fate of the camp will depend on the opponent the U.S. is drawn against for the Feb. 6th World Cup qualifier. A home date against a team like Jamaica or Panama seems more compatible with holding a more traditional January camp for new faces, but if a road trip to Mexico, Honduras or Costa Rica looms in the qualifying opener, it seems more likely that Klinsmann would eliminate the traditional early-January camp and have some sort of camp in late January with players who could actually step in and play in a road qualifier.
Regarding Altidore, Klinsmann sounded like a coach who was growing tired of even talking about Altidore. That doesn’t very much sound like Klinsmann, but you had to hear his response to the Altidore call-up question to see just how unusual his response came off as.
Klinsmann is clearly being patient and understanding with Timmy Chandler, but he also sounded like a coach who wishes Chandler would hurry up and make a commitment.
Klinsmann’s mention of Maurice Edu at centerback sure sounded like something he plans to try again in the future. Considering he’s struggling to see the field for Stoke at the moment, playing centerback might wind up being Edu’s best chance to earn national team minutes.
What do you think of Klinsmann’s comments? Glad to hear him be so patient with Donovan and Chandler? Starting to wonder whether we will see Jozy Altidore any time soon? Agree with his sentiment that the centerback pool is strong?
Share your thoughts below.