While LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget has been earning plenty of plaudits in recent months after establishing himself as one of the breakout stars of the 2015 MLS season, he will be hard-pressed to find a more notable advocate of his skills than Steven Gerrard.
Speaking to the Galaxy’s official website following Sunday’s 5-1 thrashing of New York City FC, in which Lletget scored his side’s fourth goal thanks to a Gerrard assist, the former Liverpool captain picked out his emerging teammate’s performance as one of the highlights of a successful afternoon’s work.
It was just the latest in a string of impressive outings that the ex-US Under-23 international has produced for the club since returning to the States earlier this summer from a disappointing spell at West Ham United, and Gerrard cane see how motivated he is to prove a point to those who might have doubted his talent.
“He’s a good player,” said the Galaxy Designated Player. “He’s certainly come here with a point to prove and week in and week out he is growing and learning the game. I thought it was a very unselfish performance from him today.
“He combined very well with Robbie Rogers on the left side. He got his goal and he put in a really good shift for the team. I think all around from front to back today we all gave a good shift for the team.”
Lletget, who turns 23 next month, first left the States in June 2009 to join West Ham after impressive scouts while turning out for his local club, Sporting Santa Clara, and soon established himself as one of the club’s top prospects.
Despite his recognised potential, though, the California-native never managed to feature in the Premier League during his six seasons at Upton Park, as he made just one first-team appearance in the club’s infamous 5-0 FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest in 2014.
However, given his displays for the Galaxy since arriving in May ahead of his Hammers contract expiring, a fair few observers would now question whether the east London outfit might have made a mistake letting him go.
The mid-season signing has so far proved an absolute revelation for the MLS Cup holders, establishing himself as the first-choice starter on the left wing, while bagging an impressive eight goals in 18 total appearances.
Dazzling with his skill and drive in the attacking third, there is even talk now that he could bet set to earn a first senior international call-up next month – a question which was put to LA head coach and former USA boss Bruce Arena after the home win over NYCFC.
“I used to be the national team coach and they don’t need anyone’s recommendations,” Arena said at his post-match press conference. “That is their job, and I’m sure he [Jugen Klinsmann] gets plenty of recommendations. He’s still young and he’s growing and we need to give it a little bit of time, but those are decisions they are going to make.”
Even if international honours fail to materialise in the coming months, though, Lletget looks to have a great chance to add a first piece of club silverware to his collection.
Currently on the hunt for a fourth MLS Cup title in five seasons, the Galaxy have been in exceptional form since the ex-Hammers trainee came into the line-up, winning eight of their past 10 matches to rise to the top of the Western Conference, while also scoring five goals in four of their past six home games.
Now the clear favourites for the 2015 championship, the likes of captain Robbie Keane, Gerrard and fellow summer signing Giovani dos Santos will end up stealing most of the headlines if they manage to defend their crown, but Lletget would certainly be deserving of just as much praise.