Of the 23 names announced by U.S. MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the USA’s opening match of 2015 against Chile, the most unexpected was newly minted Tottenham Hotspur defender DeAndre Yedlin. One of the players who captured the imagination of fans at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, he is only a few weeks into his tenure in North London and still rounding into form. And that, along with his versatility and ability, is what landed him in Santiago.
“Obviously, he’s not in the first 18 yet in Tottenham. I follow that, I’m in touch with the club,” Klinsmann said when speaking of his decision to bring Yedlin to Chile. “He helps us have more width in our game and have more cards to play with, basically. We have two friendlies and it might be a good idea to help him get in games and then prepare him back for Tottenham. He’s mainly here because he helps us have more variety in our game. In a certain way, he also came from off-season going into Tottenham. I see him still basically being in preseason for his big adventure so it’s a win-win for both of us.”
The young defender is relishing the opportunity to spend some time training at a high level with the National Team. His leap across the pond allowed him to get some Spurs practices under his belt; however, the call from Klinsmann to join the U.S. in South America as the MNT prepares to face fellow World Cup side Chile on Jan. 28 in Rancagua has put a pause on his new adventure. The move is a positive one, as both he and Tottenham know that the best way to get back into competitive form is to play meaningful minutes on the field.
“I think at the time with Spurs I’m obviously just training and not getting a ton of games because I still need to get my fitness up,” Yedlin said. “But I think it allowed me to get time with the National Team, which is always good, and hopefully get some games in. Game fitness is obviously the most important thing, so I think they saw a positive in it, I saw positive in it, and this will work out for everyone.”
The month of January has been a special one as he gets used to his surroundings in arguably the most popular league in the world.
“It’s been great. I have just been introduced to the club, to the fans and had a chance to experience the incredible atmosphere at home games,” said Yedlin of his new situation. “It’s really just right now working on getting that preseason rust off, then hopefully getting into form to where I can play. In the meantime, I’m thrilled to back in with the National Team. We have a huge year coming up, and I want to be a part of it as much as possible.”