US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has told US Soccer how he hopes DeAndre Yedlin’s season-long loan at Sunderland leads to more first-team opportunities than he has been getting with Tottenham Hotspur over the past eight months.
Yedlin originally joined Tottenham from the Seattle Sounders in January after the two clubs agreed a £2.5 million deal ahead of last season, but the American right-back has since made just one 11-minute substitute appearance for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
The 22-year-old failed to even make the bench for the first four games of this term and, with Kyle Walker and summer signing Kieran Trippier both ahead of him in the pecking order, was not expected to see much more action at White Hart Lane over the coming months.
A loan move was widely expected to materialise on deadline day as a result and, while a host of overseas clubs were reported to be keen on his services [h/t MLSSoccer.com], it was instead Premier League rivals Sunderland who emerged at the last minute to take the US international on board for the 2015-16 campaign.
There is still no guarantee that he will prove a regular fixture in Dick Advocaat’s side moving forward but, with the alternative being the occasional run-out for Tottenham’s Under-21s, his national team boss was more than pleased to see the deal go through.
Speaking ahead of his side’s friendly match against Peru on Friday in Washington D.C., in which Yedlin is expected to feature, Klinsmann said: “Hopefully it gives him more playing time. It looked pretty much that he didn’t get that playing time with Spurs because of their roster situation.
“With that move to Sunderland, things open up for him and hopefully they give him more opportunities to be on the field, to play Premier League minutes and that’s why we’re happy for him.”
Yedlin is initially expected to compete with incumbent Billy Jones for Sunderland’s starting right-back job but there is a good chance that he could also be used in midfield, where he has featured for most of his 23 USA caps.
The versatile speedster showed during his time in MLS and at the 2014 World Cup that there is good reason to believe he can make the grade in England but, at the same time, his recent struggles at the club level have impacted his international form and led to him losing his spot in Klinsmann’s first-choice XI.
With his defensive skills also coming under criticism ever since he first burst onto the scene with Seattle in 2013, it is clearer than ever at this point that the two-time MLS All-Star needs regular minutes if he wants to develop his game and go on to fulfil the potential that Spurs first seemed to notice last summer in Brazil.
One would hope that Sunderland can offer him that but, if not, then the questions over whether he is cut out for the Premier League will be unavoidable.