Jurgen Klinsmann has been talking, and when he does, USMNT fans still listen.
Following his five-year stint in charge of the U.S. men’s national team, Klinsmann was fired with the USMNT struggling in 2018 World Cup qualifying.
Bruce Arena took over and by now we all know they lost 2-1 in Trinidad and Tobago in their final qualifier. That coupled with a series of other freak results meant they weren’t going to Russia.
Speaking to ESPN’s Herculez Gomez, Klinsmann was asked about what went wrong for the USMNT almost two years ago.
“Well what went wrong, I was not in charge anymore, so obviously when you don’t qualify for a World Cup a lot of things went wrong,” Klinsmann said. “You were not prepared for finishing things off. You were qualified 99 percent, so whatever reason it went wrong there with the entire environment, it went wrong and nobody would expect that the other two games go in the same direction.”
Despite plenty of criticism of the USMNT in recent months, Klinsmann was actually pretty positive about their new head coach Gregg Berhalter and says the Stars and Stripes have a very exciting young group of players coming through.
In fact, it sounds like he wishes he could have worked with them.
“You know you look at Tyler Adams, you look at obviously Christian Pulisic,” Klinsmann said. “You have several players, Josh Sargent, to come out of the Tab Ramos U-20 group over the last few years, who has done tremendously well with the U-20s. So when you have a U-20 national team that now three times went to the final eight of a World Cup, that means that you have quality, you have quality young players. So now you have got to feed those young players into the next stage of their careers. So now you have a midfield with Weston McKennie, with Adams, with Pulisic, with Sargent up front. They promise a lot of quality.”
Klinsmann did hammer the CONCACAF region as a whole, saying that the new Nations League format is “a waste of time” and that Mexico and the USA have to be playing friendlies against top nations if they’re going to get to the latter stages of World Cup tournaments.
Instead the opportunity to play friendlies against elite nations from the across the globe have now been limited and more games against CONCACAF opponents are the norm.