Klinsmann: ‘Positive thoughts’ about Dempsey returning to U.S. national team

The U.S. national team coach is hopeful the attacker can make a return to the national team in January.

U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has high hopes Clint Dempsey is on the road to recovery from his irregular heartbeat and hopes to have the veteran available this winter.

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The 33-year-old Seattle Sounders attacker will miss the remainder of the MLS season and playoffs after having a setback in his recovery from an irregular heartbeat. He also will miss World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Costa Rica in November.

But the Sounders are hopeful Dempsey will be ready for the 2017 MLS season and Klinsmann believes it may be possible for the attacker to return to the national team fold even sooner.

“We follow 100 percent the advice and the direction of the Sounders in their decision to rest him for the rest of the season and get it all cleared by the medical staff there,” Klinsmann told reporters. “We are very positive about having him back, hopefully in a January camp, and then take it one step at a time. There are still a lot of positive thoughts about Clint coming back to us.”

Dempsey was a key contributor for the U.S. in a semifinal run at the Copa America Centenario this past summer, scoring three times in the tournament. He finished his 2016 Sounders campaign with eight goals in 17 league appearances.

The U.S. faces Cuba on Friday and New Zealand on Tuesday in friendlies before a date with rival Mexico to kick off the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying Nov. 10 in Columbus, Ohio.