Zack Steffen can fill Tim Howard's "big shoes" for USMNT, says Fortuna Dusseldorf Sporting Director

Zack Steffen - USMNT - solo shot

Fortuna Dusseldorf Lutz Pfannenstiel joined ESPN's Taylor Twellman to discuss how his club and others are handling trying to return to Bundesliga play later this month. And before the discussion closed, it turned to US national team and former Columbus Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who has been Dusseldorf's No. 1 this season when healthy.

Pfannenstiel, a goalkeeper during his own playing career, had plenty of good things to say even as Steffen recovers from his latest knee injury.

"I’m very happy and very proud that we took him into Dusseldorf," Pfannenstiel said. "He had a great start of the season. Unfortunately he had some problems with his knee, he just got another knee injury but nothing that serious. But I really believe in the tradition of good goalkeepers in the States, Zack Steffen will fill the big shoes of Tim Howard."

Prior to his injury troubles, Steffen had started all 17 leagues match for Dusseldorf before the winter break while on loan from the English Premier League's Manchester City. Although Dusseldorf have been locked in a relegation battle, Pfannenstiel says Steffen has played better than the results have shown.

"I believe that he has everything to be a complete goalkeeper," he said. "He’s very modern. Very good with his feet and playing goalkeeper. Very active. Maybe not as aggressive as Tim Howard, but definitely a goalkeeper which has a very, very big future. I always say, if a manager like Pep Guardiola likes Zack Steffen … that alone shows of his quality."