Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
TEMPE, Ariz. — If all signs are pointing to Julian Green making his U.S. Men’s National Team debut on Wednesday, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is being as coy as possible about it.
Klinsmann was noncommittal on Monday afternoon when asked on Green’s availability for Wednesday’s friendly vs. Mexico at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, saying only that he hoped to see the 18-year-old winger in action. That, at this stage, seems like a foregone conclusion given that Green recently had his one-time switch of international associations from Germany to the U.S. completed by FIFA in an effort to be able to play vs. the Americans’ biggest rival.
What role the German-American youngster has against El Tri remains to be seen, however.
“We want to just see him being welcomed by the group, which he already did,” said Klinsmann. “We want him to grow into that group and I think the players will help him tremendously doing that because it’s always been a strength of any American team to welcome new players, young players into the group. We want to make him feel comfortable and then hopefully we get the opportunity to see him on the field on Wednesday night as well.”
U.S. supporters are hoping for the same. After several months of anxiously waiting to see if the Bayern Munich prodigy would commit to the Americans’ cause, fans might now get their firsthand look at just how talented Green really is and if he’s at all deserving of a spot on the upcoming World Cup roster.
The U.S. players are just as eager to see Green, especially the MLS-based ones who did not partake in the early March camp that marked the youngster’s first with the full national team.
“We’re excited to have him,” said veteran midfielder Michael Bradley. “Obviously, (he’s) a very young player but a guy who has shown even at a young age that he has good starting points and a lot of quality. I think we’re all excited to get to know him a little bit in these few days, kind of get the process going of showing him what it’s like to be in this team.”
As much hype as their is around Green currently (and there is plenty), Klinsmann made it clear that he is willing to let the youngster grow at his own pace. Even if that means that he plays little to no minutes on Wednesday.
“We don’t want to put any type of pressure on him or too high expectations,” said Klinsmann. “At the end of the day, he’s a player to be developed, developed mainly with his club from one point to the next. We’re going to help this development and how fast everything can then proceed is up to him.”