U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has admitted that reported Liverpool and Manchester City target Brek Shea has been courting interest from overseas, and has offered his advice to the FC Dallas starlet.
The 21-year-old attacker has already played for his national team six times and is said to be one of MLS's most promising youngsters, and Klinsmann has let slip that coaches have been in touch with him over Shea's progress.
“Obviously, down the road if he keeps on playing the way he’s shown in the national team then yeah that raises a few eyebrows overseas,” said Klinsmann ahead of his side's clash with Ecuador. “I’m very aware of that because coaches call me already in regards to his situation.”
Remembering his playing days as an ambitious young talent at Stuttgart, Klinsmann explained that it was difficult to determine when he was ready to make the next step up to bigger clubs. While the former forward had success at Inter, he said that at times the transition was difficult.
“Looking back, they were right, I wasn’t ready at 18 and 20 years old,” Klinsmann explained.
It is for those reasons that Klinsmann has told each player on the U.S. team that his door is always open when considering a move. With his vast experience in Europe, Klinsmann believes he can share valuable insight into the difficult decision, which should be very helpful for the 21-year-old Shea.
“What I tell the players when we talk with them individually is before you make a big move come and talk to us,” said Klinsmann. “We’d like to share our opinion and be more than happy to contact the teams that are interested in you from a coaching side.”
Shea's U.S. team-mates Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore are very familiar to the challenges of being constantly involved in transfer speculation. For years, both were highly regarded MLS players who, like Shea, had scouts tracking their games.
Dempsey admits that at times, the circumstance can wear on a player as they might want to pursue their ambitions but often treads a thin line of not disrespecting their current club.
"All you can you do is play where you are, where your contract has you," said Dempsey. "It's always difficult position to be in because you don't want to be disrespectful to the team that's giving you a chance to do well and to the fans that have supported you."
He continued : "You just have to make the most of the situation where you're at and if an opportunity comes up, you have to do what's best for your future. To accomplish the dreams that you want to accomplish."
Altidore also remembers his days as a promising youngster for the New York Red Bulls a few years ago. There were a lot of people split on his decision to leave MLS at 18 years old after he initially bounced from club to club. But now that he is thriving with AZ in the Eredivisie, those criticisms appear less valid. Altidore says that players have to trust their own instincts and those close to them when deciding on whether or not to join teams.
"Everyone's situation is different but at the end of the day, you have to make the decision that is best for you and your family. It is easy to say what he should or shouldn't do but at the end of the day Brek is a smart kid," Altidore said.
While he'd be willing to speak directly to Shea, Klinsmann doesn’t feel it is necessary to push the youngster toward Europe just yet. The German manager is happy with the work FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman has done in Shea's improvement. Another year or two in MLS is likely what Klinsmann would suggest.
“We are really pleased with his development. Schellas is doing an amazing job with him. We get him for a couple of days when we are all together and we see the results of his work,” said Klinsmann. “I really don’t mind if he says he’s staying here. He brings a lot to the table for MLS and Dallas. He is still growing. “
Also, staying in MLS will allow Shea to play consistent minutes, which is an important factor in deciding his teams. His selections aren’t based on what prestigious club a player plays for.
Klinsmann explained that the reason why 20-year-old Bill Hamid has risen over Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan in the U.S. goalkeeper depth chart is due to the fact that he consistently plays for his club team D.C. United.
“He came into camp because Brad Guzan is not playing. I sent a message in my first together for Mexico, for me the most important thing is that you guys are playing,” Klinsmann explained. “If you are on the bench somewhere whether it’s in Europe, MLS or Mexico, you’ll have a problem coming in here.”