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Benched U.S. Stars Face Different Fortunes
ESPN Soccernet, March 26th, 2008 3:30PM

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In an interview with ESPN's Jeff Carlisle, U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley discusses how to manage the plight of regular national team players not getting sufficient playing time with their respective club teams. In the case of Fulham's Carlos Bocanegra, the U.S. captain, and Benny Feilhaber of Derby County, Carlisle says the situation "is more than a little worrying."

Bradley says he's dealt with the players individually, and the response he has to their situations couldn't be more different. "I've had good discussions with [Bocanegra]," Bradley said while attending last week's Olympic qualifying tournament. "Obviously, he's in a little bit of a unique situation given that he'll be free this summer, but certainly [Fulham manager] Roy Hodgson thought enough of him to make sure that he was going to be there throughout the spring, even if it's just to provide cover. And Carlos, I think, has kept a good frame of mind."

Feilhaber, on the other hand, "has to grow up," Bradley said. "He has to mature as a player. He has to understand, day in and day out, how to earn the respect of the people he plays with." Indeed, Benny has featured only a handful of times at Derby this season, and due to lack of fitness and form, U-23 coach Peter Nowak omitted the 23-year-old from the U.S. Olympic qualifying squad. "I'm hopeful that, as difficult as I'm sure it was to not get named to the team for qualifying for the U-23 tournament, that he can again see the bigger picture of everything that's happened and realize that we still think there is potential. And that in the long run, with continued work and improvement, he can grow and help the team."

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