Clint Dempsey claims ‘Premier League experience’ will see USMNT shine at World Cup 2022
Premier League quality within the USMNT camp will help them advance to the knockout stages of the World Cup, according to former star Clint Dempsey who fancies their chances
The USMNT ‘s World Cup campaign gets underway against Wales on Monday night, and former star Clint Dempsey is confident that the Premier League experience in their ranks will get them out of the group stages.
The USMNT were drawn a tight group alongside England, Iran and Wales, and the the Three Lions have already won their first game comfortably to get things going. England are the favourites to win the group, and after their 6-2 win over Iran, those odds have been strengthened.
But Dempsey has backed the USMNT to at least claim second place and make it out of the group due to the quality in their squad. The former Premier League star has backed their players with English experience to shine, and do their country proud on the world stage.
The USMNT take on Wales before a tough encounter with England in game two. It could be a pivotal final match against Iran to seal their fate, but the USMNT’s joint-record goalscorer is full of confidence.
Only nine of the 26-man squad picked by head coach Gregg Berhalter play their football in Major League Soccer, and some of their greatest stars all play their trade in England. “When Gregg Berhalter was picking this line-up, he leaned on players who’ve got English experience, whether playing in the Premier League or playing in the Championship,” Dempsey said on FOX Sports.
“That’s why, in the game [against Wales], Sargeant’s going to get the nod there, if you look at what he’s done with Norwich this season, scoring nine goals. In the back, I think Tim Ream gets that shout for having that English experience.
“Looking back, when I was 23 playing in my first World Cup, a lot of these guys are 23, 24, 25 years old. I think sometimes that helps you. You go into the game with no fear, there’s nothing to lose because you don’t know what it’s like playing in a World Cup.
“I see these boys going out there, putting in a strong performance, bringing the right energy, and getting out of this group.” And his confidence is certainly backed by Chelsea and USMNT star Christian Pulisic, who has claimed they are using the tournament to change people’s opinion on American soccer.
“Maybe it hasn’t been the top sport back in the States and we want to change the way that the world sees American soccer – it’s one of our goals,” Pulisic said. “We haven’t been at the level of some of these world powerhouses in recent decades, but we’ve had good teams with a lot of heart.
“We can take it to the next step – a successful World Cup would change a lot.” The USMNT failed to qualify for the last World Cup, and they cut it fine this time around as it was Canada that dominated their qualifying group.
The USMNT did make it out of the group stages in both 2010 and 2014, and have even pipped England to top spot during that tine. In 2010 the USMNT topped the group ahead of England, and the Three Lions have still never beaten them in a World Cup.