Jurgen Klinsmann finally sounds like he’s sick of the rhetoric.
He’s played mostly polite for a while, but the United States men’s national team coach let loose in an interview with Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep.
Whether it be not calling up Benny Feilhaber — let alone Landon Donovan — or the perceived pushing players toward Europe, Klinsmann has faced down disapproval time and again. He’s insisted he’s a big fan of Major League Soccer.
And in light of Jordan Morris signing with Seattle over interest from Werder Bremen amongst others, Klinsmann wants to point out that he’s supportive of the youngster’s decision to stay home. In fact, Klinsmann claims, he did the same thing.
“For every player, the step comes at a different time and (Morris) has to feel it is right,” Klinsmann said. “I felt I was mature enough to go to Italy at 23, 24, not before. I had offers, big offers, when I was 20, 21. Arsene Wenger at Monaco offered, at that time, 6.5 million to Stuttgart and I said I want to go. Monaco sounds like fun, Monte Carlo and stuff like that.
“My president came at Stuttgart and said, ‘You’re not going anywhere. You are not mature enough yet.’ I looked at him like, ‘Me? I’m not mature enough?’ The same (with Morris). You have to take the tempo of that person.
“I just want to do what’s best for the kid. So if the kid says, ‘I badly want to go there,’ and the club is OK with that, that’s all cool with me as long as the player is 100 percent behind it.”
The Morris saga comes at an interesting time for Klinsmann. He is, after all, the man who called Morris up to the national team as a college player, and the man who promoted Miguel Ibarra from the NASL and called up MLS veterans like Lee Nguyen and Alan Gordon.
If Klinsmann begins winning again, to build on the 2014 World Cup, it will call into question many of his critics. If he keeps losing, he’s cooked.
For opponents, borderline B-side friendlies like the upcoming Iceland and Canada events are going to be monitored like pivotal World Cup qualifiers, and style will be just as important as outcome in World Cup qualifiers. It’s a wild time, and Klinsmann’s struggles in the Gold Cup and Confederations Cup playoff got us here, not his detractors.
Yet at some point, even his detractors need to read the man’s words and acknowledge that there’s a lot of logic there, even for a masterful salesman and spin doctor.