The Minnesota native has already spent two seasons with Saints but after England’s national team goalkeeping coach Dave Watson joined the staff at St. Mary’s this week, one of his first moves was to tie Cropper down to a new one-year deal.
Cropper, 21, appeared on the bench for Saints on various occasions last season as he became the clubs number three ‘keeper at a very young age. He was also called up to the full U.S. squad on two separate occasions for friendlies against Bosnia and Ukraine and trained with the U.S. national team in their pre-World Cup camp in California.
Speaking to Southampton’s website, the USA’s ‘keeper at the 2013 U-20 World Cup was delighted with the new deal and is aiming to kick on this season with Saints under new manager Ronald Koeman.
“It feels great. I think it’s a great opportunity for me as a player to come in and work hard under the new staff and hopefully earn another contract,” Cropper said. “The environment you’re put in is one of a kind. Everybody has been saying that the new building here is five-star and it only looks to be getting better. I found Dave Watson to be very good. He has a style that I’ve been used to in the past. Hopefully under Dave Watson I can progress. I feel that it’s imperative that I keep progressing. I think that with him (Watson) being with England and doing jobs that he’s done in the past I think I can progress into whatever I want to become.”
Cropper will likely be an understudy to Polish international Artur Boruc at St. Mary’s once again this season, but being at a club which has always given youth a chance means Cropper will be pushed into the starting lineup as soon as he’s ready. This season is a big year for the U.S. youth international and it may do him the world of good to go out on loan in England’s lower leagues to gain more experience in a first team environment.
Looking ahead, Cropper will have his sights set on being the USA’s number one for the Olympic team as Jurgen Klinsmann sends a U-21 squad to compete for the chance to play in Rio in 2016.
Heading into his second stint in the Premier League, Burnley boss Sean Dyche said there is a different feeling this time around after a “business-like” season at Turf Moor.
The expectation rises from everyone, the money available to the club for its future – all of the things that it brings.
The mentality of the players has been firm all year. We were questioned heavily around Christmas, but I never blinked.
I knew what we were about, I knew the group we’d got, I knew the mentality and I knew we could go all the way.
Last time we were under the radar, it was a fairytale. This one was organized, it was business-like and it was well-fashioned from all involved, especially the players.
If Burnley was questioned at Christmas, they certainly had an answer. After losing to Hull City on Boxing Day, the Clarets have gone unbeaten in 22 matches to climb to the top of the Championship table.
Burnley’s campaign this season has been eerily similar to their last promotion to the PL after the 2013-14 season. If the Clarets win their final game next weekend, they will finish with an identical record from 2014 of 26-15-5, good for 93 points. Dyche’s next job will be keeping Burnley up, as they have been relegated after each of their previous three seasons in the top flight.
We know how they got here, but an interesting question is which moment will live in your memory when you’re reminded of Leicester’s run?
Game 5 — Dyer win Derby in stoppage
It had been a remarkable early season for Claudio Ranieri‘s troops when the Foxes came back from a 2-0 deficit against Midlands rivals Aston Villa, and substitute Nathan Dyer capped off the 3-2 win in style.
Game 14 — Vardy sets a Premier League record
Ruud van Nistelrooy taking a backseat to Jamie Vardy was unfathomable even a month beforehand, but Vardy’s goal gave him a Premier League record 11-straight matches with a goal (and all in one season). Not bad for the man deemed too old by a 2.Bundesliga team.
Game 25 — Blowout at the Etihad
Certainly many had this date circled as the beginning of a downturn for Leicester, but Riyad Mahrez dazzled while Robert Huth scored a pair of goals in a 3-1 ride past Manchester City on the road. It was on.
Game 27 — Ulloa starts earthquakes
Leicester looked destined to somehow find a draw from a dominant performance when Leonardo Ulloa lifted the Foxes to a late win over Norwich, causing mini earthquakes at the King Power Stadium.
Game 34 — Chaos at King Power
A game easily categorized in short, insane outbursts, or just the name Jon Moss
Vardy sent off for diving ?!? Penalty to West Ham for what?!? Penalty to Leicester for what?!?
LONDON (AP) The English Football Association has charged Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini and Leicester defender Robert Huth with violent conduct after they clashed during a Premier League game at the weekend.
Fellaini reacted to getting his hair pulled by Huth by appearing to strike the defender with his elbow as they jostled at a set-piece during the 1-1 draw between the teams on Sunday.