One of several German-Americans named in the provisional USA squad for the World Cup, Bayern Munich forward Julian Green grew up in Germany and represented the country at youth level, before being persuaded by Jurgen Klinsmann and others to switch allegiances to the US national team.
Filing his one-time switch in March, Green only made his full international debut in April as a second-half substitute in the 2-2 friendly draw with Mexico, although many believe that he stands a solid chance of making the final 23 for Brazil.
American fans are understandably eager to see the Florida-born youngster at the World Cup this summer, but expectations should be tempered somewhat should he make it.
Although undoubtedly an exciting talent at a European powerhouse, Green has yet to regularly feature for Bayern’s first team, playing 2013-14 in the German fourth tier with the club’s Under-23 side, and it’s unlikely that he would get too many minutes at the tournament.
A quick, skilful, two-footed wide player who has demonstrated a nose for goal so far in his short career, the 18-year-old has earned rave reviews from his coaches, but it is also clear how raw he remains as a footballer.
In fact, given his lack of big-time experience, one has to question whether Klinsmann would have been better off naming a more proven commodity to his preliminary squad over the teenager, such as the snubbed Eddie Johnson or Juan Agudelo.
Then again, with the team pitched in a tough group they are unlikely to advance from, there may not be much to lose from giving Green the early experience of international tournament football. It would certainly serve him well for the 2018 cycle, where he is sure to be a major part of the USA’s plans.
Although a call-up to Brazil will undoubtedly remind the more pessimistic observers of Theo Walcott’s ill-fated inclusion in England’s 2006 World Cup squad, Green would likely see at least some playing time as a lively wildcard option off the bench. Just don’t expect him to make a major impact, despite his obvious star potential.