US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann maintains that DeAndre Yedlin’s future could be on the right wing, after seeing the 21-year-old full-back thrive at the position in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Ecuador.
The brightest prospect on the US team, Yedlin in fact began his college career at Akron further up the pitch before being pushed back into defence, and has since established himself as one of the top right-backs in MLS after signing a Homegrown deal with the Seattle Sounders at the start of 2013.
He would make brief cameos in the midfield at the World Cup, however, before earning a future £2.5 million move to Tottenham Hotspur in August, and Klinsmann believes his man of the match performance against the South Americans shows that his skillset is well-suited to such a role going forward.
‘I think we can really push things forward if he plays in front of a right back,’ Klinsmann was quoted on MLSsoccer.com. ‘In that case tonight it was Timmy Chandler. I thought they combined really well and obviously the difference that DeAndre makes is speed. Every team fears that. DeAndre is absolutely an option to play for us further up.’
Yedlin admitted after the match that starting in the midfield was a whole new experience for him, but insists it’s a role he could get used to.
‘Overall I thought it was pretty good,’ he said. ‘Defensively, it’s a little bit different. When you get the ball there’s always a guy on your back so you have to be more technically sound. But at the same time it was nice to be in more attacking role, with more attacking responsibilities. Instead of having that whole right side to cover, it’s just that half which makes it a little easier.’
Still with Seattle for the time being, it remains to be seen whether Yedlin will head over to White Hart Lane in either the winter or next summer, with the eight-times capped international reiterating that his arrival date could hinge on when he acquires a Latvian passport through his mother’s heritage, which would allow him to sidestep the usual work permit regulations.
'Once I know the passport situation then I’ll know about January,' he added.
Whether Spurs would think about moving him into a more attacking role themselves is far from clear but, regardless, the promising speedster is in no rush to jump across the Atlantic at this stage.
‘It depends on the situation. I think if I’m still playing a lot with Seattle then it’s something I have to think about, there’s no reason to have me go in,’ he continued. ‘Ultimately it comes down to [Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino], what he wants. He’s making the decision on when I come.
‘Obviously he has confidence in me, but these guys have experience at this level. It’s going to take me time to adjust. I’m not expecting to go in right away first day and start. So if I’m playing, there’s no reason to take me out of that environment.’