Klinsmann says Guzan, Howard will split starting USA's World Cup qualifiers
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent and the Grenadines — U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann spoke to a small group of reporters here on Thursday in advance of the U.S.’s World Cup qualifier on Friday against St. Vincent and the Grenadines (3:30 p.m. ET, BeIN Sports).
Here’s some of the news that Klinsmann revealed:
• Goalkeeper Brad Guzan will start on Friday vs. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, while Tim Howard will start on Tuesday vs. Trinidad and Tobago in Jacksonville.
“They’re both pretty much on the same level, they’re both very important to us,” Klinsmann said, “and it hasn’t changed anything yet since Copa América because the younger ones in line which are very talented haven’t reached that level yet. So we try to help them one step at a time. But as of today they’re not on Tim’s or Brad Guzan’s level.”
“I’m not a big fan of rotating goalkeepers,” Klinsmann continued, “but the situation here and even for Mexico is different than for a European or South American team. For us, playing all these different games in different places and different circumstances and purposes, we have to always juggle different rosters. Do I want to always start the same back four? Absolutely. But it’s just not reality.”
Klinsmann continued: “With Brad Guzan and Tim I need both on board, I need both kind of happy. If I was 36, 37, I’m not happy if I’m sitting on the bench for two games and traveling all over the place under these conditions and then I come back to my club team. That’s when I’m very open with both keepers and say I understand your travel and effort you’re bringing here. I want you both to keep on going.”
• Look for Kyle Beckerman to start vs. St. Vincent, and for Geoff Cameron to anchor the back line.
• With the European transfer deadline day having happened on Wednesday, Klinsmann said having the deadline be on August 31 is “a pure FIFA disaster” for club teams and national team coaches. He wants the deadline to be on July 31 instead.
As for 17-year-old Christian Pulisic having interest from Liverpool but staying at Borussia Dortmund, here’s what Klinsmann had to say on whether the last week has been tough for Pulisic with the interest from outside clubs:
“Absolutely it makes it difficult. I think especially in the early stage of your career you need to have the feeling that you can be grounded at a certain place. Wherever you decide to start your professional career, that environment needs to be a foundation of what comes hopefully for many years in the future.”
“His foundation is Borussia Dortmund. So to work his way through there is very important. Not to say running away, but to say OK, there’s another big club that wants me, maybe it’s better for me because my club just bought three players in my position, blah blah blah. I think you have to learn in the first three or four years of a young career how to work yourself through the system.”
“If Christian plays next week for the Under-19 at Dortmund, I’m happy. If he plays for the Under-23s in the fourth division, I’m happy, as long as he’s getting minutes and learns and has the guidance of the older players and the coach there. But he needs to have a home. He needs to settle somewhere. It always depends on every character as well how you’re made, but I think it’s important that you have that foundation to start with.”
• In an aside, Klinsmann added that he was the one who made the call to Spurs a couple years ago that helped get the deadline-day deal done for Clint Dempsey.