The No. 4 for the United States, central defensive midfielder, constructor, tackler, passer and visionary professional is none other than Michael Bradley. His attitude, dedication, concentration and clutch performances have risen his quality from rising star to a quality underrated one. Now, he is ready to grow even more.
He played in America, England, Germany and now, he plies his trade in Italy. After a year at Chievo, he impressed enough to move onto the capital club, AS Roma.
For a player that has moved around quite a bit recently, his performance has stayed intact for each of his clubs. The Premier League, Bundesliga and Serie A differ in ways that could make it hard for most players to adapt to. Bradley eased his way into the hearts of the midfield in each league.
In England, the physicality makes it tough for teams to pass the ball around as comfortably as one would in Italy or Germany. The fields look smaller and players are more condensed. Short and quick passing is what is needed but unless opposing teams need a breather, that style is not the best answer in this league.
The Bundesliga is about skill, passing and defending. The physicality is there but not nearly at the same level as the Premier League. Bradley played in this league for three years and learned the German game pretty well. In fact, he was a lock at the central midfield position during his time there. A return to play for the likes of Schalke or Dortmund shouldn’t be out of the books.
The Serie A is about technique, strength, passing and vision. Bradley has all of these, hence his constant spot in the starting 11 for Roma. Now, he could be looking to move to Inter Milan whose midfield is somewhat lost most of the time. Bradley moves up and down when he can or has to, but he never loses his position — he knows where he has to at the exact time. This makes him a trustworthy candidate.
Now we all know that he could stay at Roma and develop a bit more, but if he was to move on to a better team in the same league or elsewhere, he could benefit greatly … as would the United States national team. The US has a decent midfield with Bradley in control … but there is always room for improvement. If he develops a bit more at a world class level in a world-class league, his international team mates will also improve tremendously.