[USA MEN]In a Twitter session with fans on Monday, U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann confirmed that he expected injured starters Clint Dempsey and Fabian Johnson to be ready for the World Cup 2014 qualifiers against Costa Rica March 22 and Mexico four days later in Mexico City.
Klinsmann said he had spoken with Dempsey, who has missed the last four Tottenham games with a calf injury, and the forward hoped to play in the Europa League game against Inter Milan on Thursday. He added that Dempsey was "all good" for the Costa Rica and Mexico games.
Klinsmann said Johnson, who sat out Hoffenheim's game on Saturday with a hip injury, "should be good to join us in Denver."
In a separate podcast on Monday, Klinsmannaddressed several general issues related to the national team, suggesting that it wasn't an automatic that Landon Donovan will return to the national team after he resumes play with the LA Galaxy and that the USA might in the future line up with Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones in central midfield without a holding midfielder behind them.
Here's what Klinsmann said on Donovan's potential availability when he returns to playing:
“We always have the approach in our environment that the door is always open. I’ve always said I have all the respect for what Landon did in his career … but we also told him that the team is developing, the team is moving on. He’s been barely a part of it since I took over almost two years ago, and therefore we’ll see where he’s at when he comes back into the game: what his rhythm is and what his shape is. How we look at him [and] how we evaluate him is different than how the Galaxy evaluate him because his role with us is a different one. So we’ll see where he’s at and whether he comes back or not.”
And what he said about the Bradley-Jones partnership in light of good seasons they are having:
“It’s very crucial, the partnership between Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones. It’s really important that they over time develop a real fine-tuned understanding that when one goes forward and is attacking, the other has to secure him and stay back. Here and there they both end up in the opponent’s penalty area and you leave kind of a hole behind. Those are things we would love to work on in the near future, when we play both next to each other and maybe we play without a number six that secures them. It only works if one stays and the other goes, and this is very important. Hopefully now we have the time and more training sessions before a game to work on that, and I think in time if we develop that fine-tuned understanding between these two guys then we have a big plus.”