The news broke earlier today from Glasgow that Seattle Sounders FC striker Clint Dempsey would not be taking part in the upcoming friendlies for the United States Men’s National Team due to a calf strain.
This injury is just the latest in a string of injuries that has kept Dempsey either on the sidelines or in the press box since his summer move to Seattle from Tottenham Hotspur. Dempsey made the move to the MLS side on August 3 while in the middle of preseason training with Spurs, and it took a while for Dempsey to feature in a full 90 minutes.
There are talks going around right now that Dempsey is looking to secure a brief loan move back to the English Premier League when the January transfer window opens. Tottenham have the first right of refusal, but reports are claiming that Aston Villa, Everton and his former club Fulham are all interested in the American’s services.
National Team manager Jurgen Klinsmann has been very vocal about wanting his players to play at the highest level possible. Using that logic, this brief loan move would be a smart choice for Dempsey but there is a better way for him to stay fit during the MLS offseason: the annual January training camp held at the Home Depot Center.
As I wrote in an article back on October 24, “Klinsmann has a prime opportunity to closely monitor each one of his players instead of having to watch them overseas. He can control the amount of time they spend on the pitch, as well as keep tabs on fitness levels.”
With the amount of time that Dempsey has missed since his transfer, it makes sense to give him some time to heal and ease him back to full fitness at Klinsmann’s pace. By limiting the amount of minutes that he plays in January and February in the rough English Premier League, Klinsmann is increasing Dempsey’s chances of being fresh for the FIFA World Cup in June 2014.
Let’s be honest too — what are the odds that Dempsey gets the earth-shattering minutes that Klinsmann wants him to get on loan? Dempsey is going to be joining a club that has been playing together since July and has found chemistry, and now here comes this newcomer who is only going to be there for a few months?
Even if Dempsey goes on loan, he is not guaranteed to get playing time, which is why it would be better for him in both the short and long run to stay with the National Team at the January Camp instead.