Klinsmann: Gonzalez ready, Feilhaber has to be "pusher"
Be very awake.
That's one of the central messages delivered by USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann to his 24-man roster ahead of Wednesday's World Cup qualifier in Honduras (beIN Sport, 4 pm ET).
"That’s our approach. Take it seriously every time you’re on the field and be very awake," Klinsmann said during a media conference call on Monday. "I told the players here now after the training session that it’s about alertness, it’s about commitment and determination."
Klinsmann's squad is "healthy and ready to go" despite the fact that some call-ups are coming off recent injuries and the US boss explained that "we can't afford to bring anyone in with questions marks." That helps explain Klinsmann's desire to wait until Monday before unveiling the squad that will travel to Honduras.
It's a roster that for the most part did not feature many surprises, but Klinsmann addressed numerous questions during Monday's media conference call regarding individual players, some of whom will be heading to Honduras and some not. Here's the rundown, beginning with the defender who's on the verge of tying himself down to the USMNT with an appearance on Wednesday:
Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg): "It’s a huge opportunity for Timmy and I think he’s simply just maturing. He’s growing into his his role as a full-time professional. Some are there maybe at 18 or 19 and some it takes a couple of years longer. That’s why we were patient with Timmy to mature. ... But he still has a lot to improve and still has a way to go which is right. He’s only 23 years of age."
Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy): "It is exciting for us to see players like Omar now being ready for the international level."
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Matt Besler (Sporting KC): "Matt Besler is knocking at the door with a very strong January camp. … We believe Matt Besler has the capability to step it up on the international level."
Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar): "He’s still a very young player and still a player in his development and he’s becoming more consistent. ... The way he managed that situation last week was awesome and it deserves a big compliment. … But he’s still going through a maturing curve on the field and off the field and our job is to get him to an international, consistent level. … As a striker, we want to work him in a way where he scores consistently for us."
Sasha Kljestan (Anderlecht): "Sasha is also similar to Jozy, is becoming a consistent influence in his club. … He’s been a bit in and out because of the depth we have in midfield. … But he’s been always in our plans and in our roster."
Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City): "He also left a really positive impression in the [January] camp and he played a very decent second half against Canada. ... He's right there. ... We want him to become more of a pusher in terms of being involved in the game. ... Here and there it seems like he’s fading out and coming back in, a bit inconsistent. And he’s working on that. That has to do with the technical approach, but also the physicality of it, the rhythm and pace of a game. We are thrilled with that move to Kansas now. He will get pushed by Peter Vermes doing that. … We think that he absolutely has the qualities and he has the technical capabilities to be part of the inner circle of the national team."
Jose Francisco Torres (Tigres UANL): "He was injured in October and we know Jose’s qualities. We know his game. I think that move from Pachuca to Tigres is another step upwards and helps him get again to a higher level. … He started the season off really well. So he’s a player that still has so much more to reach."
Joe "Benny" Corona (Tijuana): "It’s purely temporary [his absence from USMNT] because he’s dong well and we’re very pleased with Joey’s development. Very, very pleased. … We have a very, very close eye on him because I think he’s a very special talent that grows up there. … It's just a question of who do you select for a specific game. Joe will be back with us, definitely."
Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City): "Graham matured throughout the last year and he stepped it up and that’s why he’s in the inner circle of the group right now. … Also from a confidence level he stepped it up and that’s great to see."
Clarence Goodson (Brondby): "Clarence is in preseason right now in Denmark."
Oguchi Onyewu (Málaga): "Gooch is not playing at all at Malaga."