The veteran defender could return to the Glasgow giants, but would be playing in the third tier of Scottish soccerARLINGTON, Va -- Carlos Bocanegra's future with the United States national team could be determined by the next club he decides to join in the summer.
After an unsuccessful loan stint at Spanish Segunda division side Racing Santander, Bocanegra has seen his international career called into question as he wasn't called up into qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico and saw the captain's armband given to Clint Dempsey. Rangers currently own Bocanegra's rights and the 33-year-old has been very open about a return to the Scottish club. U.S. Jurgen Klinsmann, however, isn't as fond of Bocanegra coming back to Glasgow.
Rangers former financial turmoil saw the club relegated into the Scottish fourth division and even after securing promotion this season, the third division isn't exactly top level competition in Klinsmann's view.
"Next year, they are in the second division which is the third highest division in Scotland. Rangers is Rangers, one of the biggest clubs in history. But that division in Scotland, I'm not sure if that's where you want to be," Klinsmann explained. "Players make their own decisions and they have to deal with the consequences of that."
Bocanegra joined Rangers during the summer of 2011 and while fellow U.S. internationals Alejandro Bedoya and Maurice Edu have departed the club due to its relegation, he has been very reluctant to cut ties with the club. A journeyman for much of his time in Europe, it is speculated that Bocanegra's strong bond with fans on the blue side of Glasgow along with Rangers' still large status as a club - the team still sells out the 51,000 seat Ibrox -keeps him interested in remaining with the team.
Another reason why Bocanegra could possibly be reluctant is due to the emergence of several young promising center backs. There's no guarantee even if Bocanegra joins a decent team that he will be picked over the likes of Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler or Geoff Cameron. And that's not even factoring veteran Clarence Goodson in the mix. Klinsmann acknowledged that point on Wednesday.
"It depends on how we want to put together the roster in May and June and where we see his position among center backs," Klinsmann explained. "At the same time, we have a lot of promising players breaking through like Gonzalez or Besler. Geoff Cameron also, though he doesn't play his favorite position at Stoke... Carlos is aware of that and knows at the end of the day that its a continual competition."
Could be an interesting summer ahead for Bocanegra as he chooses between sticking with arguably the best club experience of his career or trying to prolong his international duty with the U.S..
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