Michael Bradley with USMNT
USA TODAY Sports

Jurgen Klinsmann sticking with stance on Michael Bradley's position for USMNT

Jurgen Klinsmann is sticking with his stance that midfielder Michael Bradley is better suited in a role further up the field for the United States national team.

In an interview with Fox Sports 1 posted on Wednesday, Klinsmann said the 27-year-old Toronto FC midfielder should stay in the attacking position where he played during the World Cup.

"The role that he ideally plays for me as a coach is an advanced role on the field,” Klinsmann said, “where he gets close to the opponent’s 18-yard box, gets into the 18 yards, maybe scores goals, maybe plays a decisive ball, and has these brilliant moments and connects the dots higher up the field.”

Klinsmann used Bradley in such a role in Brazil last summer, a move that drew plenty of critics for playing Bradley out of his more traditional positions as a box-to-box midfielder or even a defensive midfielder at points in his career.

Bradley played every minute of the US team’s four World Cup games and covered more distance than any other American player in the tournament, but reviews of his performance in a new role were mixed.

LA Galaxy head coach and former US national team boss Bruce Arena told SI.com last week that “Michael was playing out of position,” while TFC head coach Greg Vanney said in October that Klinsmann and the Reds’ coaching staff don’t agree on where Bradley belongs on the field.

“I have spoken to Jurgen,” Vanney said during TFC’s final media availability of the season in October. “Most of the conversation, to be fair, was Jurgen telling me how he thinks Michael should be played, and my conversations are more with Michael and how Michael feels he should be played.

“I think Jurgen feels he is a player who should be higher up the field, but I don’t know that Jurgen and Michael see things exactly eye to eye.”

Bradley, for his part, notched two goals and four assists in 25 appearances for Toronto last season before undergoing surgery to repair nerve damage in his foot in November.

He has appeared in just one game for the USMNT since the World Cup – a 75-minute shift against Honduras on Oct. 14.

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