U.S. women's national team coach Vlatko Andonovski
has expressed surprise at World Cup defender Crystal Dunn
's comments that she is unhappy at being asked to play the left-back role.
Dunn, who was part of the U.S team which won the World Cup in France four years ago, told GQ magazine
on Friday that "it hurts at times" having to switch from her favored club position in midfield.
“It’s been a massive burden on me to switch who I am given the team that I play for, and it’s something that I only go through. It’s really hard to speak about," she said in the interview before crying.
"I think it's hard because I'm the only one who has to do it," she said. "I step into camp, and I feel like I lose a part of myself. I no longer get to be Crystal who scores goals, assists, is this attacking player.
"I step into an environment where I have to be world-class in a position that I don't think is my best position. But I've owned it. I've made it my own, and I've tried to create it in my most authentic way. But I don't love it.
"I love playing and I love competing, so that brings me up to the level that I need to be at, but it really is hard when I look around and I'm like, 'Well, no one else has to do this.' I am the only person who does not stay put in one position and always has to change given what my coach thinks of me."
Dunn, who has made 129 appearances for the national team, is expected to be part of the squad for July's World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.
Andonovski told reporters ahead of Sunday's SheBelieves Cup match against Japan that he hadn't read the interview but was surprised at the views.
"Crystal has not expressed it with me recently," he said. "It's a choice. Nobody's forced to play on the national team. Nobody's forced to play in any position and every time I've talked to Crystal, she just shares how much she enjoys being on the team and loves helping the team being successful. So obviously as a coach, I'm happy to hear that, and I'm happy to help her in the position or the task that she has to do."
Andonovski warned that Dunn would face plenty of competition with the likes of Rose Lavelle
, Catarina Macario
and Lindsey Horan
in central midfield, if she insisted on switching roles.
"If she doesn't feel comfortable playing left-back or she doesn't want to be a left-back, nobody is forced to play in any position, right? As a left-back, she's world-class and probably one of the best left-backs in the world. As a midfielder, she has pretty steep competition in that position, so everybody has a choice, and then we make the decisions." he added.
In the interview, Dunn said she had tried to accept the role Andonovski has given her but that it wasn't always easy and she was particularly down in late 2021.
"I got sick of feeling like I wasn't good enough, feeling like I’m always having to earn my right onto the field. "I step into an environment where I have to be world-class in a position that I don't think is my best position. But I’ve owned it. I’ve made it my own, and I've tried to create it in my most authentic way. But I don’t love it. I love playing and I love competing, so that brings me up to the level that I need to be at, but it really is hard when I look around and I’m like, Well, no one else has to do this. I am the only person who does not stay put in one position and always has to change given what my coach thinks of me...it hurts at times,” she said. sev/dmc
@ Agence France-Presse