LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane believes teammate Robbie Rogers fully deserves an international recall following his starring performances at left-back.
The 27-year-old winger was converted to the position by head coach Bruce Arena earlier this season after the club’s defence was hit with a spate of injuries, and has since proved a revelation in his 14 appearances in his new role.
Marking a remarkable turnaround since his brief retirement upon leaving Leeds United in 2013, Rogers has now been tipped to earn a first US national team call-up since 2011, and Keane insists that he is more than deserving of the honour.
‘For me, he's been brilliant since he converted to left back,’ Keane said after Rogers' finest performance this season, in last weekend's victory over FC Dallas.
‘He's a player who has grown in stature in that position. If you're looking at the best left-backs in the league, certainly he's up there. There's no question about that.
‘I'm sure if Mr. [Jurgen] Klinsmann was a very, very good manager and watching the games, there's no question [Rogers] should certainly be in the [US national team] squads. I don't know when the next game is, but he certainly should be looked at because he's been brilliant. That's how much he's been on, if I'm touting that he should be in the national team.’
Considered one of the US national team’s brightest attacking prospects after helping the Columbus Crew to the 2008 MLS Cup, aged 21, Rogers would go on to earn 18 senior caps from 2009 to 2011, as well as a place on the 30-man provisional squad for the 2010 World Cup.
His career would hit a horror spell during his 13 months at Leeds, with various injuries hampering his progress, but Keane thinks fans are now at last seeing him in the best position for his skillset.
‘This is definitely Robbie's best position,’ he said. ‘He's got so much energy and so much quality, he can get back, he can defend, he's very hard to beat, but when he gets into the attacking half, he can cross the ball. I think he's really found his home.’
Rogers’ next opportunity to earn a call-up to Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad will be the friendly matchup against Ecuador on 10 October, in what will also be Landon Donovan’s final appearance for the stars and stripes before retirement.