Klinsmann says Zelalem ready for USMNT now, preaches patience with Julian Green

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Arsenal youngster and recently-granted United States citizen Gedion Zelalem is good enough to contribute to the senior U.S. national team right now, according to USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann who spoke as part of a roundtable discussion with journalists this week.

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Klinsmann’s comments regarding Zelalem and fellow youngster Julian Green were the most interesting of the bunch, as Klinsmann seemed to contradict himself by preaching patience with one player and ramping up expectations and timetable for the other.

From American Soccer Now:

“I want to see how [Zelalem] interacts with the group and what level he’s at. [After that], it’s totally in the open to have him play with the U-23s or with the U-20s for Tab. But he’s a special case. I think he’s already at a level where he can definitely play on the senior team.”

That’s a crazy statement, considering Zelalem has played all of 64 minutes for Arsenal’s first team. Surely Klinsmann should be preaching patience

Speaking of which, let’s check in on the last German-American teen recruited by Klinsmann and handed the keys to the Maserati — otherwise known as a World Cup roster spot — before cracking the 1-minute mark as a first-team player, Julian Green, whose struggles while on loan to Hamburg have been well-documented all season long.

“I got involved in it. A couple of things were said in not the right way. [Green] was surprised that he was suddenly asked to play for [Hamburg’s] second team. And he kind of felt not being appreciated and not being considered good enough to start for the first team. It was tough for him. He thought about that process and he talked with the club and eventually he now plays for the second team just to stay in a rhythm.

“They are keen on him that he will break through. I think it is a good learning curve right now. Yes, when you come to another Bundesliga team from Bayern Munich, you are seen different. It’s not Julian’s fault. It’s just the way it is. They expect you to be their savior and score two goals every game. That’s not Julian Green yet. He’s 19-years-old. He’s a player to be developed.”

Oh, so today we should expect immediate results from Zelalem, but we need to be patient with Green. A pattern emerges.

Of course everyone needs to pump the brakes on calling Green a bust because he’s had one poor season, his first competing for a regular first-team place. Of course he needs time to develop, just as every other young player in the world does or has at some point in their career.

But, I will say this: It’s not the “American soccer community” over-hyping these youngsters, putting unnecessary pressure and expectations on top of them before they’ve ever accomplished anything in their pro careers. It’s Klinsmann, the technical director and head coach of the national team making outlandish statements, time and again, bogging down players with the weight of the most irrational soccer community in the world at 18 and 19 years old.

I think I speak for many when I say to Klinsmann at this point, “Stop speaking. The messages are mixed, contradictory and often times inflammatory. At the very least, be consistent in the things you say.”

Klinsmann also spoke of the latest crop of dual-national players whose services the U.S. program is interested in securing — Club America defender Ventura Alvarado and Club Leon goalkeeper William Yarborough. The entire roundup of quotes is well worth the few minutes it takes to read.

Watch Live: Watford v. Arsenal

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Mesut Ozil makes his first start of the season as Arsenal visits Watford and new/old manager Quique Sanchez Flores on Sunday at Vicarage Road (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Ozil has two goals and four assists in nine appearances against Watford.

Dani Ceballos is also starting for the Gunners, who will be without Alexandre Lacazette for the next few weeks.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Gerard Deulofeu heads into the Starting XI for the Hornets, who will have in-form Will Hughes on the other side of the field.


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World record-holding manager Gutendorf dies at 93

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The world record holder for most teams managed has died at the age of 93.

Rudi Gutendorf, who managed in the United States with the NASL’s St. Louis Stars (1968), last managed in 2003 when he led the Samoa national team.

[ MORE: Maguire shining for Man Utd ]

Those are two of 55 teams he led onto the pitch, 22 of which were national teams. He led teams from CONCACAF (Trinidad and Tobago), CAF (Ghana), CONMEBOL (Chile), OFC (Fiji), and AFC (Australia).

The German-born Gutendorf did a lot of his club work in Europe, leading clubs as big as Hamburg, Schalke, Real Valladolid, and Hertha Berlin.

Gutendorf managed Rwanda in the wake of the country’s dark civil war. From DW.com:

“Such hate, you cannot believe. I was able to unite these two tribes to play football, and good football,” he said in a 2013 interview of the mixed Rwandan team of Hutu and Tutsi players.

What a fascinating career Gutendorf had, and the stories he’s told.

Man Utd’s Maguire “showed what a man he is” versus Leicester

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Manchester United is still working to find its form as a team, but center back Harry Maguire continued his run of fine performances when the Red Devils beat his former team on Saturday.

United beat Leicester City 1-0 on the day, a Marcus Rashford penalty the difference, but Maguire and fellow new back Aaron Wan-Bissaka were again exceptional.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 1-0 Leicester City ]

Ashley Young has been through a few iterations of Manchester United, and the long-time club offered up lofty words to credit Maguire’s contributions to the team.

“Again he showed today what a man he is,” Young said. “You know, I think the manager’s said about him, he talks non-stop, he’s a real leader and he can play as well.”

Maguire won five aerial battles and two tackles while completing 83 percent of his passes and managing two shots against his former side (WhoScored). On the season, only Anthony Martial has consistently been more important to the team.

He also did not record a loss of possession, and seemingly was unbothered by plenty of criticism from the traveling fans. From The Manchester Evening News:

“I don’t think it bothers (Maguire) whatsoever,” said Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “You’ve got to be that way and when you play, when you coach, when you manage, we don’t get carried away when we win a game that we maybe didn’t deserve to win, but we don’t get in the dumps when we don’t win.”

Solskjaer also loved Maguire and Victor Lindelof for their performance against pesky Leicester star Jamie Vardy.

“I’ve got loads of admiration for Vardy,” Solskjaer said. “I think he’s my type of centre forward, runs in in behind, harasses and you’ve got to be spot on with the decision-making, when to stay up, when to drop off, and both of them proved their worth today. There were a couple of races and Harry did well.”

Maguire didn’t love being on the other side of Vardy, either.

“It was tough playing against Jamie,” he said. “I’ve played with him for two years and he is a top player who can terrorize defenses when he is on his game. … We knew it was important to get the win, especially after the international break. We have to build on a solid base and we want to keep clean sheets, especially at Old Trafford. We are always going to score goals with the attacking talent we have.”

United hosts Kazakhstan’s Astana on Thursday in the Europa League before visiting West Ham United on Sept. 22.

Watch Live: Bournemouth v. Everton

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Dominic Calvert-Lewin gets the start up top as Everton looks to take down hosts Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday (Watch live at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Alex Iwobi, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Richarlison join Calvert-Lewin in attack for the Toffees, who can go fourth with a win.

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Bournemouth enters the day in 16th, a point ahead of the bottom three, but can rise into the top half with a win. Early season vibes.

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Bournemouth: Ramsdale, Rico, Ake, Cook, Stacey, Solanke, Billing, L. S. Cook, Wilson, King, Wilson. Subs: Boruc, Surman, Lerma, Ibe, Fraser, Simpson, Mepham.

Everton: Pickford, Digne, Mina, Keane, Coleman, Delph, Schneiderlin, Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin. Subs: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Walcott, Sidibe, Bernard, Davies, Kean.