Julian Green's inclusion in Jurgen Klinsmann’s final 23-man US national team World Cup roster has begged the question of whether the teenager was added at the cost of national team legend Landon Donovan.
Both players were considered options on the wings, likely off the bench. Klinsmann didn’t directly address the Green vs. Donovan debate in a Friday interview with Alexi Lalas on ESPNFC, but he did say the Bayern Munich product best filled that very role.
“Based on how we put the puzzle together for this roster, we go through every single position,” Klinsmann said when asked why he felt Green deserved a ticket to Brazil. “That we have our starters, our backups, and go through each of those positions and that position that Julian can fill out, which is mainly as a winger position.”
Green joined the USMNT officially in April and has made just one appearance, adding to the controversy of leaving out the team’s all-time leader in goals and assists. Klinsmann insisted, however, that Green would be ready should his number be called on the world’s biggest soccer stage.
“He’s coming through the ranks, and he’s a backup,” Klinsmann said. “We believe in as of today that if we have to bring him he will be able to make a difference and he has the talent and he has the guts to do that. And we believe in him that he just goes now and every day being into camp and therefore he deserves to be in the group of players.”