Werder Bremen boss Florian Kohfeldt is loving the look of American striker Josh Sargent as his Bundesliga mainstays ready for the new league season.
Bremen barely avoided relegated and Sargent was a big part of the club’s resurgence from the automatic relegation spots to a playoff win over Heidenheim to extend their top-flight streak into a fourth decade.
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Kohfeldt asked Sargent, who turned 20 in February, to run his shorts off up top as Bremen battened down the hatches at the back.
His constant pressing led to his drawing 1.3 fouls per game, and he started 15 of his 28 Bundesliga appearances starts. Sargent was an unused sub just twice, missing four further games with a muscle injury.
Six starts came after the restart from the coronavirus pandemic break. More are coming.
“Right now, I can’t imagine a starting XI that doesn’t include Josh Sargent,” Kohlfeldt said. “For me, he’s in pole position for the opening weekend of the season.”
Sargent would likely start with Milot Rashica, doing plenty of the heavy lifting to get the Slovakian into scoring space.
The American scored four goals with six assists in all competitions last season, not bad considering those numbers came in around 1700 minutes. He also has five goals in 12 USMNT caps.
“The combination of his strength, physicality, work off the ball, his improved tactical understanding and positional flexibility, it all speaks volumes for him as a player,” Kolhfeld said.
“He brings a lot to the table. He can play wide or as the central striker in a 4-3-3, and he can play as a second striker in a 4-4-2. He showed real progress during the end of last season. I just want to say: Josh is no longer the contender.”
Sargent becoming a mainstay in an improved Starting XI for Bremen would be incredible news for Gregg Berhalter as he finds the player to feast off the playmaking of Christian Pulisic, Giovanni Reyna, and others.