After a second-consecutive US national team call-up, Bolton Wanderers defender Tim Ream is hoping to push on to establish himself for good in Jurgen Klinsmann’s lineup.
Having earned eight caps since his debut in 2010, Ream made his first appearance for the US since October 2011 in last month’s 1-0 win over the Czech Republic in Prague, featuring at centre-back alongside John Brooks for the second-half.
Now set to earn more minutes in the upcoming home friendlies against Ecuador and Honduras, the recent poor form of World Cup squad members Brooks and Matt Besler means Ream has a prime chance to secure a regular starting spot in the heart of the defence – a scenario which seemed far off just a few months earlier.
‘It feels good,’ he told ussoccer.com of once again training with the US. ‘It’s always a nice change of pace to come in with the team and staff, and see the same guys that you were with the last time around, and continue to build that camaraderie and that understanding with each other. It’s always a fun time and a hard-working time when you come in here.
‘Obviously Ecuador is a good side. They did fairly well in the World Cup. It’s still early in the cycle and we obviously just started, so it’s about getting a feel for everybody and how they play, and getting a much better understanding of what the staff wants to do and what they want to change from the last cycle. I think it will be a good test for everybody.
‘I think it’s good for everybody to come in here and be right in front of [the coaching staff] and knowing they’re watching you closely,’ he added. ‘It puts a little bit of added pressure, but at the same time you know you’re getting a pretty fair shot and a pretty good look to get a lot of minutes.’
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Beginning his professional career with the New York Red Bulls after being taken 18th overall in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, Ream starred in the US for two seasons before securing a £2.5 million move to Bolton in January 2012 to serve as Chelsea-bound Gary Cahill’s replacement.
Aged 27, the St Louis-native struggled to establish himself in the first-team during his first two terms at the Macron Stadium, before a breakout 2013-14 campaign saw him make 42 appearances between centre-back and left-back, while also filling in for four games at midfield.
His versatile presence moving management to tie his future down to the club until 2017 this summer, while Bolton’s poor start to the Championship season sees them sitting bottom of the table with five points from their opening 11 games, Ream has again proved one of the few bright spots during a disappointing few months for the Trotters.
With a new manager expected to replace the sacked Dougie Freedman during the international break, the team’s reigning-Player of the Season should ultimately prove one of the core building blocks for whoever arrives in the coming weeks.