Jurgen Klinsmann has never been shy about what he expects from his national team players, and has consistently placed club performances at the highest of priorities for those who represent the country to earn their place in his squad.
Well, he’s spoken his mind yet again, and this time, he wants his European cake and wants to start it too.
With a number of Americans – mostly abroad – unable to crack a consistent starting eleven, Klinsmann is concerned that they have let their foot off the gas with another World Cup still years away.
“Right now at the end of 2014, looking at the last couple of months is a bit of a concern to us,” Klinsmann said in a video released by US Soccer. “A lot of our players who played very well in the World Cup and were consistent and worked very hard really dropped their performances after the World Cup.”
Often in the past Klinsmann has been upset that players aren’t challenging themselves abroad. But he doesn’t just expect players to sign with teams in Europe and that’s that. If you take the challenge, you also must pass it.
“Even if they are starters with their teams, or in many cases unfortunately are not starters in their teams anymore – and I’m looking more at the European players in that moment – this is something that we have to improve over the next years,” Klinsmann warned. “Our players have to become stronger to deal with the big moments and then going back into their season and making sure that they play in their club teams on the highest level and especially as starters.”
But it’s not just players abroad who have fallen off. He encompassed the entirety of the squad, not singling out any certain players or group when stating everyone needs to improve – and he won’t hesitate to tell them that.
“This is going to be a huge topic when we communicate with the players now going into these two games,” Klinsmann said. “Talking to them and telling them, ‘Listen, it takes more to become consistent. It takes more professionalism and strength to come after World Cup and show those performances again in your club level.'”
There are expectations from Jurgen Klinsmann for the Unites States players, but are they too lofty too soon? It will be interesting to see if this boosts his players to push themselves at their clubs, or if it will have any affect at all.