What manager knows Clint Dempsey like former Revolution boss Steve Nicol?
Nicol drafted the unknown Texan out of a small school in South Carolina, then helped nurture him in Major League Soccer ahead of a critical 2007 move to Fulham.
Nicol spoke recently to Soccer Today on all things Dempsey, on whether the highly successful striker should move to a bigger club, on the reported transfer fee (that materialized out of media nowhere), on the man’s constant craving to achieve more, etc.
Full disclosure: Soccer Today is a radio show / podcast that I co-host along with ESPN pro basketball writer Marc Stein, who loves his soccer.
A couple of hot appetizers from Nicol’s interview:
Where Dempsey’s game has developed: “One of the first things that we said to Clint was ‘keep in simple.’ He had all these step-overs and all this other nonsense but he tended to use it at the wrong time and be kind of flashy. He’s totally gotten rid of all that. He gets it, keeps it simple, gets himself in the penalty box. It’s a simple game, and when you do the basics well, this is what happens.”
On the reported $16 million transfer fee: “I’m not quite sure where that figure came from. But if that’s what it takes, one of the bigger clubs should bite their hand off.”
(In 100 percent honesty, I don’t know what that means. I think I know but sure couldn’t swear on it.)
On whether Dempsey can work at a bigger club: “The way teams set up now, particularly the big teams, it’s all about one guy up front and getting midfielders to crash into the box, and that just suits his game down the ground.”
So, what does Nicol believe Dempsey should do? Stay at Craven Cottage? Move on? Call his mom ? (He does, by the way). Well, we should certainly leave something for the interview. (Nicol’s bit is at the 30:30 mark of the link.)