U.S. men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann maintains that he would prefer midfielder Michael Bradley play in an "advanced" position on the field.
"The role that he ideally plays for me as a coach is an advanced role on the field, where he gets close to the opponent’s 18-yard box, gets into the 18 yards, maybe scores goals, maybe plays a decisive ball, and has these brilliant moments and connects the dots higher up the field," Klinsmann said in an interview with Fox Sports 1.
That preference stands in contrast with many observers' opinions–including Bradley's Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney–that Bradley is best suited as a box-to-box midfielder who transitions between offense and defense. Some opined that Bradley was out of position at times during the World Cup this summer in Brazil, another topic Klinsmann addressed in the interview.
He said he thought the U.S. did well to advance out of a group that many perceived as difficult and that the team's performance served notice that "we are trying to build a culture for the sport that wants to compete."
In its three group matches, the U.S. beat Ghana, drew Portugal and lost to Germany before falling to Belgium in the round-of-16.
"I think we had a extremely good World Cup," Klinsmann said. "In a group of death that everybody said, ‘You have no chance,’ we made it out of that group – leaving Portugal, with the best player in the world, behind, and Ghana. We gave Germany a very, very close game and then we gave a go at Belgium in the round of 16, which, kind of, we hit the wall then, quality-wise."
Klinsmann was also asked about the U.S. women's national team being selected into a difficult group for the 2015 World Cup in Canada. The U.S. is set to face Sweden, Australia and Nigeria in Group D. Both Sweden and and Australia are among the top 10 teams in FIFA's rankings.
"If there’s one team really strong enough to deal with that very difficult group, then I think it’s our team," Klinsmann said. "They’re just top class."
The U.S. men will conduct their annual January training camp next month and face a rigorous schedule in 2015.