Southampton goalkeeper Cody Cropper expresses need for playing time

The US Under-23 international's contract expires in the summer and he is keen to get his first taste of senior football.

Southampton goalkeeper Cody Cropper has admitted to that his need for regular playing time could see him to leave the Premier League club in the summer.

The American shot-stopper, 22, first began his professional career in England with Ipswich Town in 2010, before being released in the summer of 2012 and linking up with the Saints.

He has featured for the club’s Under-21s on a regular basis over the past three seasons but is still to earn his first senior appearance and hasn’t even made the first-team bench this term due to the presence of Fraser Forster, Kelvin Davis and Paulo Gazzaniga.

Nevertheless, the Minnesota-native is the current US Under-23s starter and also been called up to Jurgen Klinsmann’s senior squad on several occasions since August 2013.

He is still to receive his first cap, however, while the likes of the soon-to-return Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando, Bill Hamid, newcomer William Yarbrough and Sean Johnson are all now ahead of him on the depth chart.

With competition in the US pool so fierce, the Saints keeper is in danger of becoming an afterthought and, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the season, admits that the time might have come for him to head elsewhere in the search of first-team football.

“If I’m not playing at a club level, I can’t expect [to play for the US],” he said. “That’s even a higher level than the Premier League. If I’m not playing in the Premier League, how can I go into the international level?

“At this age, you need to be playing games to grow and to mature, and for myself with next summer, the Olympics coming, personally, I need to be playing

“I know I need to be playing, and that’s something that I have to ultimately decide for myself and see where I am.”

However, Cropper stresses that his time on the South Coast has been valuable to his development, even if he hasn’t managed to crack the first-team, and believes the experience will stand him in good stead if he does move on in the near future.

“Those are experiences that you really can’t duplicate,” he added. “Playing with a team and training with a team on a daily basis that is where they are because of how they do things is one of a kind.”

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