JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Much has been made of the switch by the US national team to a diamond midfield in recent games. But to the manager, the tactics aren't really the point.
Jurgen Klinsmann is more concerned with how his players support each other on the field than how they’ll operate within the much-discussed diamond formation during the World Cup.
On Saturday at EverBank Field, the USMNT will likely give the set-up another go against Nigeria in their final send-off match (6 pm ET, ESPN2) before leaving for Brazil. But to Klinsmann, that isn't the be-all and end-all for the team heading into the World Cup.
“I think there are pro and cons, like with every system,” Klinsmann said to reporters on Friday when asked how his players have adapted to the recent change. “But it doesn’t really matter what shape we have or what system we have, it matters how we kind of connect with one another on the field.”
He feels his team is capable of adjusting to any formation and that as long as they’re able to defend as a unit that the system they play in hardly matters.
“All these discussions about different systems are actually not up to speed anymore,” Klinsmann said. “The systems are not the key anymore like it was maybe 10 or 15 years ago. It all changed for the best teams in the world, led by Spain. They made every system look stupid because they came up with a 4-6-0 in the last European Championship and beat everybody.”
The freedom to move midfielders into attacking positions, and back again to help on defense, relies on speed and the extra efforts of multiple individuals throughout the pitch.
Klinsmann even went as far as to indirectly reference a former USMNT player who was recently omitted from this year’s roster to drive home his point.
“I think we need to go away from the system discussion. It doesn’t get you anywhere,” he said. “Years ago it was all down to the No. 10 to make things happen, but now maybe it’s the No. 6 that makes things happen, or the fullbacks make things happen.”