Jurgen Klinsmann might not have called Robbie Rogers up to the US national team’s January training camp roster last week, but that doesn’t mean that the LA Galaxy defender’s recent form has gone unnoticed.
Speaking to the MLSsoccer.com, Klinsmann stressed that Rogers would have been in the squad in normal circumstances, but the former Tottenham Hotspur striker’ decision to experiment with Under-23 eligible talent saw him just miss the cut.
“There was a thought about Robbie [coming in],” Klinsmann said. “He had a good season, also, obviously, a winning season. The situation is just, and this is what this kind of camp ended up with was: How can we develop the maximum amount of Olympic team players at the same time?
“If it was purely senior guys, Robbie would be in that camp.”
Rogers, 27, has been a revelation for LA since switching to left-back last season, and his impressive form proved one of the core reasons for Bruce Arena’s side claiming a third MLS Cup title in four seasons with December’s 2-1 extra-time win over the New England Revolution.
With fans and the media alike rushing to label him one of the best full-backs in the league, most assumed that the former attacker would be a shoe-in for Klinsmann’s 28-man squad, so it was somewhat surprising to see his name absent when the roster was announced.
“I said, 'Ah, it's a pity not to give that guy that a chance,'” Klinsmann added. “On the other side, we said, 'You know what, it is important to have 12, 13 Olympic team players in here, because we've got to build them. The sooner the better.'
“And that's why some players were left out, and Robbie was one of them. But there's always definitely an open door.”
Once considered among the USA’s brightest prospects, Rogers earned 18 senior caps from 2009 to 2011, as well as a place on the 30-man provisional squad for the 2010 World Cup, but the former Leeds United man would endure 13-month horror spell upon moving to to Elland Road at the start of 2012.
However, after retiring briefly from the game following his departure from the club in February 2013, his career revival looks to have put him on the verge of what would be a remarkable international comeback.