NEW YORK (AP) — Clint Demspey says he thinks U.S. goalkeepers Zack Steffen and Matt Turner should consider taking loans for the start of next season to prepare ahead of the World Cup if they don’t. not play regularly for their Premier League clubs.
Turner is leaving Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution this summer for Arsenal, where Aaron Ramsdale replaced Bernd Leno as the starting goalkeeper in September. Leno has since started a league game and is expected to be transferred this summer.
Steffen has made just nine appearances this season for Manchester City, where he is Ederson’s substitute. He has appeared in just one Premier League game with four in the FA Cup, two League Cups, one Champions League and the Community Shield.
“The one who will win this place is the one who will play the most regularly. And if you’re not playing regularly for your club then you have to go on loan and get those minutes because it’s about being accurate when the time comes,” Dempsey said on Monday. “So it will be interesting to see what happens for Turner and Steffen in July and August, what decisions are made there.”
Dempsey, a midfielder and striker for the US World Cup squads in 2006, 2010 and 2014, spoke at a press conference ahead of his induction into the US National Soccer Hall of Fame on Saturday.
After missing out on the 2018 World Cup, the United States open this year’s tournament in Qatar against Wales, Scotland or Ukraine on November 21, face England four days later and meet Turkey. Iran on November 29.
“I think they have the quality to get out of the group, they just need to be full,” Dempsey said. “Not only the goalkeepers but I think all the outfield players too, they have to play for their club teams in August and try to be fit because that’s what you’ll need to go far in this tournament.”
Now 39, Dempsey has played for New England (2004-06), Fulham (2007-12, 2014), Tottenham (2012-13) and Seattle (2013-18). He scored 57 goals in 141 international appearances, tying Landon Donovan for the US scoring record.
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He now works as an analyst for CBS, which owns the rights to US road qualifying, and was announced Monday as a broadcaster for Fox at this year’s World Cup. Dempsey, on the pitch for the side that lost in Trinidad and Tobago and failed to reach the 2018 World Cup, saw the current squad qualify on the last day of March despite losing 2-0 in Costa Rica.
“It was great for the country. I wish they had done it better in the sense of having a stronger last game, especially against Costa Rica, without having their strongest team,” said said Dempsey. “You would have (thought) they would have put on a better performance there to really win, even though they got the job done.
The United States will likely be at the World Cup without defender Miles Robinson, who tore his left Achilles tendon on May 7. Additionally, midfielder Weston McKennie broke a bone in his left foot on February 22, midfielder Gio Reyna was limited by leg injuries to a qualifying start, Steffen missed games with back problems and Turner with a broken foot.
“I just hope they can stay fit. It just seems like the injury bug has kind of affected them,” Dempsey said. “For them to have a chance, I just feel like ‘They need to have everyone fit for selection so they can push for their best 11.’
He believes a striker needs to step up and deserve the starting job. Ricardo Pepi scored three goals in qualifying but hasn’t scored a goal in 24 consecutive games for club and country since October 7. Jesús Ferreira, who scored the other striker goal in qualifying, leads MLS with nine goals this season.
Jordan Pefok lead the Swiss league with 22 goals this season but played only a small role in qualifying, and Haji Wright could be asked to camp after scoring in seven consecutive Turkish league appearances.
“I think we are missing a number nine. I think somebody has to kind of cement that role and be the main guy,” Dempsey said, referring to the striker’s number on the position board. “Also, the teams are going to rush us. I think we need to do a better job of building from the back with our centre-backs and having that confidence to try to play.
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