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World Cup 2014

Klinsmann discusses role of several players as USMNT camp continues

Tim Howard

Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

Jurgen Klinsmann has long professed his belief in Tim Howard being a top five goalkeeper in the world, and the U.S. Men’s National Team head coach believes this summer will be the perfect time for Howard to show it.

“I think there is also something special waiting for Tim, and hopefully he makes this his special moment,” Klinsmann said from training at Stanford University. “His consistency over years now in the Premier League, I think he was in the top three in the Premier League this year – I look at him in the top five of the world – and that is kind of a moment to make that World Cup your World Cup.”

The 35-year-old goalkeeper played in his first World Cup four years ago in South Africa. He started out with a strong showing against England in a 1-1 draw that saw him suffer bruised ribs after a collision with Jermain Defoe, and while he was solid the rest of the way, he was not as spectacular as he has repeatedly proven he can be.

This summer’s matches provide him with the perfect stage to show even more fans from all over the world just how good he can be, and not just because of the Americans’ Group G opposition. Yes, Howard will likely need to come up big against Ghana, Portugal and Germany for the U.S. to have any shot at advancing into the knockout phase of the tournament. But he also will need to continue to showcase his strong leadership skills by leading and organizing a back line that is short on World Cup experience.

“We need a Tim Howard that gives them confidence, we need a very vocal Tim Howard, and that’s what he’s doing,” said Klinsmann. “It’s fun to watch. He’s looking over their shoulders, he’s giving them advice not only on the field when we train but also when they hang out in the cafeteria and as a group together. He’s making sure that they are confident, that they know what they’re doing, and that they know that they can make mistakes because nobody’s perfect. He goes, I hope really, into a huge World Cup.”

On the other end of the spectrum and other side of the field, forwards Aron Johannsson and Terrence Boyd are looking to impress Klinsmann to the point that he gives them some playing time this summer. The two youngsters’ roles with the U.S. are undetermined as of now, and both will likely need strong performances in the pre-World Cup camp and friendlies in order to have a shot at earning minutes in Brazil.

Scoring goals would also help their cause, especially since they have just one goal between them in 20 combined appearances. But Klinsmann is not concerned by those numbers, because he insists that the goals will come and that Boyd and Johannsson are currently works in progress.

“They grow, they grow,” said Klinsmann. “It’s just a developmental path that you go through. Sooner or later you break through in the national team like (Chris Wondolowski) did. In the last two years he was also missing those goals with us and then the Gold Cup came and Wondo came.

“For Aron and Terrence, they’re just with us for a year or two. It’s the same path. They build up more confidence in their club teams, they get the goals in their club teams, they understand the different levels between wherever they play and the national team and where they play and other leagues. It’s just a path they have to go through and develop and be hungry every day on the training field and build that consistency and confidence to do it also on an international stage. It’s just a normal journey that they’re going through.”

79 comments
  • Del Griffin

    Oh Cripes, for a former world class striker to rate Wondo and Jozy above Aron and Boyd is ridic.

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    • Luke

      Did I miss the part in the article where Klinsmann gave his striker rankings? He only talks about the time that each player has spent with the National team and that Boyd and AJ are young and still growing.

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      • Luke

        And yes Jozy is rated by almost everyone, above any other striker in our player pool.

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      • Brian

        Me too.. Sticking with Lazy NoScore is a formula for disaster. IDK why JK has such total blind loyalty there. If Laxy cant light it up in the pre game matches then to bench he goes

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      • Luke

        Are you referring to the only player in USMNT history, who scored in 5 straight international matches. Who scored a hat trick at Bosnia and Herzegovina. Who scored 8 goals in 2013 and 21 goals in 67 international matches. When he scores in the pre-WC matches and in the WC, you and all the rest of the Jozy haters will comeback and say how you told us how great he was. That is until he goes into another scoreless streak.

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    • MMV

      So where exactly did JK rate Wondo and Jozy over Boyd and AJ?? JK didn’t rate anyone per se. He just said Boyd and AJ need a little time; a little more confidence but are growing and developing. That’s all — nothing more nothing less. I think that’s fairly obvious during their run outs with the US. It’s not like JK said he would hesitate throwing Boyd or AJ out there.

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      • Del Griffin

        He says that Boyd and AJ have to break through, something Wondo already has done.

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      • bryan

        and yet, out of those three, who participated in World Cup qualifiers and A team friendlies? seems like a classic motivation technique from JK but that’s it.

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      • BlatterSUX

        Breakthrough = more than one goal in 20 appearences

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      • Birgit Calhoun

        He is saying that Wondo scored a lot more goals than either Boyd or Johansson. Wondo had very little USMNT playing time and no goals before 2013. I think neither of the two, AJ or TB, has scored a goal for the US national team.

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    • Rory

      I feel like Howard has lost a half-step and Guzan is still a half-step away from his full potential. Kind of bad timing for us for the World Cup to come now. If it were to ever come to penalty kicks though I think I’d rather have Guzan in goal, but all-in-all, Howard might edge him on all-around keeping.

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      • Alex

        It usually really bugs me when people talk about Guzan being better than Howard, but in this case, you’re absolutely right. Guzan is a FREAK when it comes to stopping penalties.

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      • MMV

        Did you watch Timmy at all for Everton this season??? He was lights out — an absolute beast. It may have been his best season in England. He looked refreshed, relaxed, and the game slowed down for him which allowed Timmy to shine. Timmy was not at his best during the 2012-13 season and to some degree did look a step slow but whatever it was he got over. I have 100% confidence in Timmy. I would have no problem, whatsoever, throwing Guzan in there but with Howard’s resurgence and current form — he’s bound for a huge, huge World Cup.

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      • Brian

        He better get that 1/2 step back cause if JK starts his fav Omar, Timmay is gonna feel like hes living the battle of Britain with the shots raining in on him

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  • Snack Time

    It sounds like the Jürgen Klinsmann rating in FRANK’s spreadsheet is going to drop for Johannsson and Boyd. From JK’s comments, it doesn’t sound like the transition is being made quickly enough from the club to international level, at least not enough to beat out Wondo for a spot on the final roster.

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    • Strider

      I think you may be getting ahead of yourself. Just because Wondo had a breakthrough in terms of scoring for the team does not mean he is ahead of them for making the Cup. That will still depend a LOT on how each player performs in training, and likely more importantly, in the upcoming warm up games.

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      • Snack Time

        So, what do you think he is saying?

        I won’t say that I was spot on, but now that Klinsmann has revealed the roster, it looks like indeed Wondo was favored over T-Body.

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    • QuakerOtis

      Wondo fan, would love to believe that, but it could equally be a knock on Wondo. He’s 29, and there’s presumably nothing left to “develop.” Still, hope to see him score live and in person next week!

      Like

    • Josh D

      The only way we’ll know is if Klinsi actually plays those two and gives them a chance. Save Jozy for the following game. We already know he’s a lock for the 23.

      Like

  • fifawitz1313

    I think we should all get excited and read way too much into these quotes.

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    • Alex

      I think on his best days Tim can be put at that level, but I think top 5 is a reach. I would, though, put him in the top 10. Like, seriously, name 10 keepers you’d rather have than T.How

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      • HoboMike

        Can you name 5? I suppose Buffon, Courtois, Casillas, Neuer….who else? I’m talking about players who could actually play, meaning if you rate Valdes higher than Howard, you can’t say Valdes because he’ll never play over Casillas.

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      • Alex

        Well first of all, I don’t think that’s a fair qualification. It’s not Valdes’ fault he won’t play over Casillas, and speaks to Spain’s ridiculous GK depth. If Valdes was from England, he’d start. It’s absolutely relevant to throw that type of player out there. Now, as far as naming another… I would indeed put Valdes over Howard, if he weren’t injured. I’d also put Petr Cech above him. Lloris, possibly.

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      • HoboMike

        To each his own. I was thinking more along the lines of players you’d actually be able to field, in which case it’s essentially 1 per country.

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      • Bach's Thumb

        Courtois
        Cech
        Neuer
        Da Gea
        Casillas
        Buffon
        Valdes
        Muslera
        Hart
        Stekelenburg

        Timmy is somewhere in 10-20 for me, near Reina, Lloris and Lopez.

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      • HoboMike

        Like I said, if we’re rating keepers, you can’t rate 3 Spanish keepers ahead of him because you can’t have them all. It’s not like ranking strikers.

        Stekelenburg isn’t even the starter for the Netherlands and got turnstiled all season at Fulham. As for Muslera and Hart, you’re just going by names. Hart was benched for 2 months this season.

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      • HoboMike

        I didn’t even realize until now that Stekelenburg didn’t even make the 30-man roster.

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      • Brad

        You put Hart in the top 10?

        BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

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      • QuakerOtis

        Put that midfield and Kompany in front of Howard, might help his GAA too. I would still want Timmy in net before Hart, and I bet there aremore than a few Englishmen out there who would agree.

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      • QuakerOtis

        Oh, and he was out for two months because he sucked… add two months of poor play, and that GAA goes up.

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      • Bach's Thumb

        I rate him higher. Many people do.

        The GAA was a bonus.

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      • Brad

        I vote that all of Thumb’s comments (worthless as they are) now be finished with “but then again, I think Hart is a top 10 goalie”

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      • Del Griffin

        Bach’s thumb has quickly risen in the ranks of infamy for this site.

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      • Wrighteous

        No way you can put Hart or Da Gea ahead of Howard. I’ll confess to not knowing anything about Muslera or Courtois. Howard is definitely top 10. I think Guzan will be there soon, if not already there.

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      • Kosh

        …and yet for JK he is not. So agree to disagree, then?

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    • captain obvious

      I came here from the future to tell you that Boyd gets dropped.

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  • Ryan in NYC by way of NC

    Timmy’s collision was with Emile Hesky, not Jermaine Defoe

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  • Bach's Thumb

    Donovan had some amazing things to say about Wondo either yesterday or the day before. Everything he touches turns to gold is a rough paraphrase.

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  • Brew

    I’ve been saying it for months. Wondo is making the team. I’m not saying he deserves it and I’m not saying he doesn’t. The fact remains that JK loves him. He always uses him as a good example for other players, always has a big smile on his face when he talks about him. Loves that Wondo works hard and is a good locker room guy. At the very least he is going to bring him for his attitude and to be a scout player when getting ready for other teams. Wondo may never see the field but he’s going.

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    • Petedela

      MLS is about on par with the Austrian League, I’d say. The top 3 teams there are probably a bit better than our top 3, but otherwise I’d say MLS is no worse than Austria. Boyd clearly has talent, but he will need to step it up BIG TIME if he wants a chance for tix. Wondo seems to be learning how to summon up that extra bit. That’s what I take away from this. Johansson on the other hand seems ready to me. Between AJ and Lando, I’d be tempted to take AJ. I hope both can go to Brazil, tho. Wondo too.

      Like

  • bryan

    i still don’t think Wondo makes the team unless JK brings all 6 listed strikers. i’ve heard Boyd and Wondo are training very well though and that Boyd scored in the scrimmage. i’ve maintained Boyd would have to collapse in training to give up his spot. seems like he isn’t doing that, despite the pressure Wondo seems to be providing.

    haven’t heard much about AJ, but i still think he is a lock along with Jozy. i guess we’ll see!

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  • The Other Jeff

    If JK has made anything clear, it is that he is looking for players with the eye of the tiger, the “I don’t give a … who you are, I’m going to beat you” way of looking at the opponent. He prizes this even at the expense of narrow differences in skill. Wondo fits that bill, so does Evans. It’s the biggest question mark about Chandler and the youngsters up top. It is the source of his carping with the quietly efficient Donovan. It is the reason Dempsey is the captain – no one brings swagger to the pitch like Clint in this squad. Anyone can disagree with that priority, but no one should be surprised that Klinsmann is applying it.

    Like

  • Sharkbait

    Funny how everyone can get something completely different out of one person’s statement. Seems to me that a lot of people like to extrapolate the often vague and generic statements Klinsmann makes into fitting whatever personal idea they have about any given player(s). Talking about the strikers here if that wasn’t apparent. Nothing he said tells me that Wondo is ahead of either Aron or Boyd.

    Heck I’ll play this game too. Klinsmann just said that Johannson and Boyd are still growing towards their potential and Wondo has reached his. Wow earth-shattering revelation right?

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    • GW

      RE: Wondo

      Is it so hard for people to understand why JK rates Wondo?

      Maybe they should look at JK the player.

      As one of Germany’s all- time great strikers he was not exceptionally big, strong, fast athletic etc. like Cristiano Ronaldo. He was not ridiculously quick and skilled like Leo Messi.

      So if you research him and listen to his take on things, he feels and I tend to agree that he got that way by old fashioned hard work, smarts and will power. “Belief “ as he likes to say. He did not come out of the box as a ready- made striker he made himself into one. And was willing to do just about anything to win, including re introducing diving to England.

      It is pretty obvious that he sees a lot of himself in Wondo just like he saw a lot of himself in Miro Klose.

      I have to believe JK knows more than a little about what it takes to be a scorer at the level in question. Not that it means he will take Wondo to Brazil.

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      • The Other Jeff

        A number of years ago I talked to a former captain of Nigeria – CB, don’t remember the name. Asked him the hardest player he ever had to defend. Didn’t hesitate: Klinsmann. Called him “a horse” – started running full out at the opening whistle and didn’t stop for 90 minutes. Said no one could keep up with him for an entire match.

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  • Charles

    Holy Cow! Did Klinsmann say here what I think he did? That he is definitely starting Julian in all group matches, and Yedlin has a good chance to start too. Unbelievable.

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    • KingGoogleyEye

      You read that right. Did you also notice where he said that he’s starting me at CB?

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      • GW

        I’m assuming it’s because of Gonzo’s knee. You haven’t played with Besler before. And you haven’t played CB in the EPL.

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      • Bac

        Dadgummit guys!
        Didn’t I say something about the daily humor?

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      • Julio

        You know what that means? Expat will win his bets. Wouldn’t that be something?

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    • Brian

      Last MLS head to head…Lee Nguyen schooled Yedlin. Think about world class players running at him. JK will go down with this ship if he really does this stuff.

      Like

  • Matt C

    quote: “It’s fun to watch. He’s looking over their shoulders, he’s giving them advice not only on the field when we train but also when they hang out in the cafeteria and as a group together. ”

    So Timmy’s giving advice in the cafeteria….organizing the line for food…telling them how to clean trays… ? I could envision a pretty funny espn/world cup commercial with Timmy hollering at players..fans….waving his arms…

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    • Brain Guy

      Yes, yes, yes! This would be a terrific “This Is SportsCenter” spot. Could be anywhere at ESPN’s offices – cafeteria, coming through security, even guys parking their cars. How about Timmy shouting and moving people around to different cubicles? Or making a “save” to prevent some minor inconvenience (e.g., somebody pickinmg up someone else’s photocopies) and then screaming his head off?

      Ives, how do we make this happen?

      Like

  • The Garrincha

    I would say Howard rite now, falls somewhere in the top ten to a dozen.
    Where, is anybodies guess?, I am just glad we got Hulk Howard on our team.
    The Great Buffon, is truly an all time classic,
    man his slick hairdooey and all that Italian machismo.
    That cold icy stare, straight out of the Godfather,
    always leaves me wondering how he does it?,
    a random magic show,
    stiletto cat quick, comes with nine lives, effortless, and omnipresent.

    Like

  • IgnerAnt

    AAAAAUUUGGGHHH! Landon not on team! AUGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!

    I had to post that somewhere. I work alone. The wall is not empathizing properly.

    Like

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