LONDON — The U.S. national team have been warned not to call up Geoff Cameron for their crucial World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Costa Rica.
[ MORE: Cameron struggling ]
Speaking after Stoke City’s 1-1 draw with West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday, Stoke manager Mark Hughes urged Jurgen Klinsmann to resist the urge to call up Cameron, 31, as he struggles to fully recover from a knee injury sustained last week.
Asked by ProSoccerTalk about Cameron’s chances of making the crunch fifth-round CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio next Friday, Hughes fired a warning shot to the USMNT.
Will Cameron play for the USA next week?
“I wouldn’t have thought so. I’d be a little bit aggrieved if the USA called him in to check him over. Clearly he’s not here today because he is not fit. They should hopefully take our word on that,” Hughes said. “I don’t see any point in them asking him to travel just to get checked over. That would compromise him a little bit as well. If sense prevails hopefully he will be fit and well for the next time they come together.”
With Klinsmann to name his squad on Sunday, losing Cameron, which now seems highly likely, is a massive blow.
The versatile Massachusetts native has excelled in central midfield for Stoke this season but it’s been at center back where he’s been key for the USA. He played in every single minute of the run to the Copa America Centenario semifinals last summer and he also started all of the qualifying games in the fourth round of World Cup qualifiers.
His influence has been huge on the USMNT’s back line and on the team overall. Hence why Klinsmann may be thinking of calling him up to see if he can play in at least the game against Costa Rica next Tuesday.
Cameron’s partnership with John Brooks has been a big reason for the USA’s recent good form and losing his leadership and experience ahead of two pivotal qualifiers at home against Mexico and then a tough trip to Costa Rica will be a headache for Klinsmann. One of Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Michael Orozco or Steve Birnbaum will likely step up to partner Brooks.
If Klinsmann does surprisingly call up Cameron tomorrow, expect Stoke and Hughes to be very upset.