World Cup: Jurgen Klinsmann offers take on Fabian Johnson's injury, Jermaine Jones' club limbo
CARSON, Calif. – Jurgen Klinsmann says Fabian Johnson's hand injury won't impact his preparations for the World Cup and that he expects Jermaine Jones to find a new place to play by Friday's January transfer-window deadline.
The German-born midfielders, both key cogs for Klinsmann as the countdown proceeds toward Brazil, hope to be available for Bundesliga action this weekend, and the US national team coach was optimistic.
Johnson, 26 (above), who has played in midfield and on the backline for the US, suffered a broken right hand Saturday during Hoffenheim's 4-0 defeat to FC Nürnberg, and with no official timetable given for his return, his availability for the Americans' World Cup tuneup at Ukraine in early March appeared to be in doubt.
Not so, says Klinsmann.
“[I] spoke to him this morning, surgery done, there's a couple screws in there, all good,” the coach said in his first media scrum since the USMNT returned to Southern California after two weeks in São Paulo. “[He] wants to play Saturday. I think he's actually allowed to play on Saturday.”
The bones were cleanly broken, a real positive.
“The perfect thing was it was really broken, clearly,” Klinsmann said. “So [the] surgery's all done, and he's going to be back on the field in two or three days.”
Jones, 32, is seeking a new home after losing his starting job at Schalke 04 during the first half of the season and receiving word from manager Jens Keller that he couldn't count on playing time.
“I could not tell Jones that he'd have a guaranteed starting spot in the second half of the season,” Keller told reporters earlier this month. “He was professional about being benched during the first half of the season, but with a World Cup on the horizon, and at the age of 32, it might have become a bit more difficult.”
The transfer window closes Friday, and Jones, a central midfielder, needs to find a new club by then or return to Schalke.
“We've been in contact; he hasn't solved his situation yet,” Klinsmann said. “He obviously has a deadline 31st of January that his people are working on, and with his club, they have a clear understanding that he is looking for a new club. ... It's now the 27th. So he has four more days and then, hopefully, he presents a solution there.”
Klinsmann said he didn't believe a move to MLS was likely, that it was probable he'd find “another opportunity in Europe.” He needs to, the coach said.
“Every player that doesn't have a solution right now on the table is a concern, absolutely,” he said. “So we want him to solve it, but he's kind of used to these kind of situations ... and every time he solves it. So he has to solve it, obviously, this time as well. He has to do that within the next four days.
“We're in touch and we're positive that he finds a good solution and then gets back on the field and play. Because that's what we need the players to do.”