Yedlin, 22, went into the Copa America off a successful season-long loan stint at Sunderland, having made 21 starts in 23 Premier League appearances for Sam Allardyce’s side as they successfully secured their top-flight safety with a game to spare.
The speedy right-back promptly showed the benefits of playing regular first-team football by standing out as one of the USA’s top performers during the group stages, helping them progress to the last eight as Group A winners ahead of Colombia.
The only blot on his copybook came when he was sent off in the 1-0 victory against Paraguay after picking up two quick bookings, forcing him to miss the 2-1 quarter-final win over Ecuador, but that proved a rare loss of composure.
Even in the 4-0 semi-final defeat to Argentina, the former Seattle Sounders star looked like the team’s best attacking outlet at times and gave them their main highlight of the match when came out of nowhere to beat Lionel Messi in a race to a through ball during the second half.
His improvement defensively has been especially noticeable since his days in MLS, when there were doubts over whether he could stick at full-back long-term, and Klinsmann believes there is still a lot more to come from the 39-times capped starlet.
Speaking before Sunday night’s 1-0 loss Colombia in the third-place play-off, Klinsmann said: “It’s pretty cool to see DeAndre’s path over the last two years, especially since he broke through at the World Cup in Brazil. He’s becoming more mature, he’s become even stronger, more confident, and also on the tactical side of the game he’s learned a lot.
“He now knows how to read the game better, especially behind him when he’s going forward. He reads forwards better in one-on-one situations, so his learning curve his huge. Hopefully he continues that path and has a good solution after his Copa America when he goes back to Tottenham Hotpspur.
“Maybe he goes out on loan again or maybe be breaks through at Spurs – that would be big. But he’s played a tremendous Copa America.”
Yedlin will now have a short break before returning to Tottenham next month for the start of pre-season training, but it remains to be seen whether he will still be with the club once their Premier League campaign kicks off on 13 August at Everton.
The 22-year-old, who joined Spurs from the Sounders in January 2015, is currently behind both Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier in the right-back pecking order, and recent rumours have suggested that he could be loaned out again or even sold this summer [h/t Sports Illustrated].
The Sunderland Echo claimed earlier this week that talks have been held about the two-time MLS All-Star moving back to the Stadium of Light for another loan spell, but their reported also added that the Black Cats want the option to make his move permanent.
Yedlin has said himself that he would be open to returning to Sunderland if Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino cannot guarantee him minutes next term, telling Goal USA last month: “It’s definitely a door I would not close. I would not mind going back [to Sunderland]. I had a great time there. I’m keeping all doors open, I don’t want to shut any right now.
“Any opportunity that is offered to me is a big opportunity. When you’re dealing with the Premier League, it’s still unbelievable to think that I’m playing in the Premier League.
“I don’t want to close any doors right now. I’ll just keep my head down and perform at Copa America. Obviously if I can have a good tournament here it’ll impress a lot more people.”