By FRANCO PANIZO
FT. LAUDERDALE, FLA. – Following the news that Omar Gonzalez was open to considering playing for Mexico, U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was again asked about his roster omissions following Thursday evening's practice session.
He answered them in the same manner that he did following Tuesday's practice, though he went in more detail.
"We follow all (players), whether it's George John or other cases in the MLS," said Klinsmann. "Absolutely we have them on our radar screen. On the other side, we kind of develop our way of ranking the positions and we rank it in terms of we have our established one, and we have the challenger and then we have the third and the fourth and the fifth one. Is Omar a part of that? Yes. But I can only call in 18-22 players for a game and I go with the ones that have spot No. 1 and 2 right now."
Asked if having dual-citizenship players out there who aren't officially cap-tied to the United States plays a role in his decision-making, Klinsmann answered by saying that it doesn't.
"We have to make sure that the quality that we want to keep is the best," said Klinsmann. If they have the quality, we call them in if the moment is there. It depends also on other situations like if you're missing somebody, there's an injury there, you move up in that ranking. It could go fast and it could take forever, but it doesn't really necessarily play a role for us."
When asked, Klinsmann also said that he has not spoken with either Gonzalez or John. He also further elaborated on if he feels pressure to summon players who are eligible for the United States and another country.
"This will always kind of be a question that we have to face," said Klinsmann. "When maybe during additional stuff in order to have them become our player, but it also comes along with the quality that we kind of see in them. It's really kind of a juggle and it's case by case that we have to talk through that.
"I mean we have a list of players – if you look down to the under-23, under-20 ranks, if you look around what we have in Europe, it is mind blowing. – and you get your hands around all these kids, that's what we're trying to do step by step to do. Claudio (Reyna) plays a driving force in this identification process. Yes, we want to make sure that we don't have a kid slipping through, like Giuseppe Rossi that decides to play somewhere else, we want to have that next player play for us.
"On the other hand, on the senior level I have to make sure that we maintain the highest quality and getalso our games together, so it is a case by case scenario that we discuss in a group and then when we feel like maybe we have to do an extra jump, we will do that."