Clint Dempsey: Not much has changed since becoming U.S. captain

The United States' prolific attacker says he hasn't noticed too many differences after being handed the armband but appreciates his team's faith in him.
KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Clint Dempsey became captain of the United States just over two months ago, and match results suggest he's fully deserved the honor.

Since head coach Jurgen Klinsmann gave Dempsey the armband, the U.S. is 2-1-1, including a draw at Mexico's Stadio Azteca and a home win against a strong Germany B team last weekend. Dempsey also scored an impressive four goals during that span.

Under Klinsmann's tenure, the Texas native has delivered in key moments for the U.S. but insists that the challenge of being captain hasn't changed his approach heading into games.

"I don't personally feel any different. [My mentality is],'Go out and win and represent your country well.' That's always been my focus, " Dempsey said.

Still, Dempsey acknowledges that the expectations are higher for the national team's captain.

"I would say that there's more responsibility and pressure on you. You're looked to be one of the leaders on the team," Dempsey explained.

The Tottenham Hotspur attacking midfielder pointed to Michael Bradley and Tim Howard as the two other players who share a similar role on the U.S. Dempsey does appreciate that his teammates and coach are behind him as the leader of the team.

"It does give you confidence as a player knowing that your manager believes in you and the players have supported that decision," Dempsey said.

Things weren't always that way.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, Klinsmann made some critical remarks that put the pair's relationship into question.

"[Dempsey] hasn't made s---. You play for Fulham? Yeah, so? Show me you can play for a Champions League team, and then you start on a Champions League team," Klinsmann told the publication. "There is always another level. If you one day reach the highest level then you've got to confirm it, every year."

Considering Dempsey's status, he could have very easily responded to Klinsmann's comments especially considering the former Germany boss' average record with the U.S. at that stage. Instead, Dempsey appeared to take Klinsmann's remarks as a challenge responding with good form for both his club and the national team, leaving very little room for criticism from the U.S. coach.

Now, Klinsmann is praising Dempsey as one of America's greatest players ever.

"Having Clint Dempsey on your team is a privilege and is one of the best players in U.S. history," Klinsmann said after the U.S.'s win over Germany on Sunday.

Dempsey was asked about both sets of comments on Thursday and didn't appear to be emotionally invested in either.

"I think that things are still the same in the sense that he still wants me to push myself and stay hungry. That's something that I've always done anyway," Dempsey said. "I've always challenged myself... I've always wanted to play at the highest level possible and be around the best players because of being so competitive and fighting to be better."

It's that mentality that has seen Dempsey rise to replace Landon Donovan as the new face of the U.S. and the fans love his confidence. Dempsey's infamous "Deuce Face" sign is seen at every stadium where the U.S. plays and he admits that he finds the gesture as hilarious.

"It's something that I think is funny and enjoy at games. It makes me laugh," Dempsey said. "It shows that we have a sense of humor as a country and our fans have a good sense of humor."

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