USA boss Jurgen Klinsmann hails Danny Williams' Reading resurgence

Madejski Reading

The former Tottenham Hotspur striker has been impressed with how the midfielder has battled back from injuries to earn his international recall.

US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has lavished praise on Reading midfielder Danny Williams after recalling him to his squad for the upcoming friendlies with Denmark and Switzerland, telling US Soccer of his delight at seeing him back to his best.

German-born, Williams made is US debut under Klinsmann while at Hoffenheim in October 2011 after obtaining an American passport, but has since seen injuries restrict him to just 12 further caps.

A knee problem picked up in the team’s 1-0 win over Ukraine last March both disrupted his season with Reading and saw him miss out on a World Cup spot, before the issue would flare up again in preseason and force him to miss the first 14 games of this term.

However, the former Freiburg product has since been in solid form after returning to the pitch in November, making 26 total appearances and helping his club set up an FA Cup semi-final matchup with Arsenal.

Now back in the US picture as a result, competition for the holding role remains fierce within Klinsmann’s squad but the German has stressed how impressed he’s been with Williams during his battle to return to the setup.

“Once we had to make the cut before the World Cup down to 23 players going to Brazil, that didn’t mean that we leave now all the other players that didn’t make it to Brazil out of our sight,” he said. “Danny Williams is a good example. He couldn’t make the World Cup roster because he was injured.

“He was even injured until after the World Cup going into the season, so he struggled and had a tough time, but then after a couple of months suddenly he was all injury-free and he picked up his rhythm and now he’s in an FA Cup Semifinal against Arsenal in Wembley in a couple weeks from now.

“He proved throughout the last 8-10 weeks that he’s in very good shape. He’s very aggressive and very determined and he wants to break back into our group.

“Everybody goes through different stages in his career and we follow all of them, and then obviously the tricky part for coaches is how you put the puzzle together that we will be very competitive and at the end of the day also successful.”

Williams himself has stressed his desire to impress Klinsmann in recent weeks, telling American Soccer Now earlier this month: “Obviously I am eager to get back to the national team. I am desperate to do it because like I always said, when I am fit and healthy, I think I can give a lot to the team.

“When I first played for that team, it was just over three years ago. I was younger. I think I’ve developed a lot as a player and I would love to show Klinsmann what it meant for me to step outside of my comfort zone and develop away from home.”

The Reading star now has his chance to get back into the starting XI equation, with Wednesday’s match against Denmark in Arhus his first test.

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