LARNACA, Cyprus – Brek Shea has been name-dropped by Jurgen Klinsmann in the past as a potential difference-maker in US men’s national team matches. And that’s how the player himself hopes to sell himself as the battle for World Cup places intensifies.
“I think I play a little bit more dynamic than a lot of our players and hopefully that’s what I bring to the team,” he said after Wednesday's 2-0 friendly loss to Ukraine at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium. “I try and always get in behind. I think that’s my strength and I always try to play to that strength."
“I just hope to be called into the camp in May and try and make an impression there again,” Shea replied when asked how he rated his chances of making the 23-man roster for Brazil. “I have to show I can be a player who can make a difference whenever I get called up.”
Shea was introduced as a 62nd-minute substitute and while opportunities for attack were generally scarce for the USMNT, the former FC Dallas player at least showed some energy and fresh impetus on the left side.
“I hope I made an impression,” he said. “Coming into the game in the second half I had fresh legs, so my aim was to try and make things happen, make runs and attack them and provide a threat up front.”
Klinsmann has often spoken about the qualities Shea can bring to the USMNT, challenging him to find first-team football if he can’t get it at parent club Stoke City. Shea is now on loan at Barnsley until the end of the season.
So how big an influence is the German in the 24-year-old's career?
“He gives me every confidence every time I come up [to the squad],” Shea said. “I still think playing for him is pretty cool. He was a great player so when he says stuff like that, it means a lot to me. But you still have to perform every time you get the chance or you won’t get it again.”
Reports back in England say Shea is under investigation for an alleged gesture made to Barnsley fans after Saturday’s 5-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town.
“I’ve been told not to say anything until I go back to my club,” Shea said. “The situation will be clearer in two days time when I go back to Barnsley.”