- Dike on 2022 disappointment
- Striker looking forward to more opportunities
- Could start against El Salvador
WHAT HAPPENED? After bursting onto the scene with Orlando City and earning a move to the Championship with Barnsley, Dike made the big switch to West Brom in January 2022 as he looked to push his way up the USMNT depth chart.
However, injuries limited the striker for nearly the entire year, effectively ending his 2022 World Cup dreams. Now healthy, though, the 20-year-old is back with the USMNT and scoring for West Brom to start the 2026 cycle.
WHAT THEY SAID: "This last year, it was a little bit difficult," Dike said, "because, at the beginning of the year, knowing it's a World Cup year and moving to a new club, you want to do well with your new club, you want to improve yourself just to put yourself in the best position to be in a World Cup. So of course, having the injuries, having the drawbacks every once a while after the injury even happened, it's difficult because I think every single player from a young age, they always want to be playing in World Cup. They want to represent a country and have the opportunity to do that. And I knew that, unfortunately because of the injuries, I wasn't able to compete for a position on the squad.
"it's difficult of course, but I know that I'm at a young age, there'll be more World Cups, there'll be more opportunities and there'll be more things for me to be a part of. Watching the World Cup, of course there are times where I'd be thinking to myself: 'Ah, I wish. I should be playing. I wish I could be playing out there and helping everyone' but, day one, I'm also a fan. I was out there supporting everybody, knowing guys on the squad, knowing staff on the squad, you already have high respect for them. So that's one thing: you're always going to be rooting for them and hoping everybody does well, just knowing there's going to be another chance for you."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Dike's next chance begins this week, as the striker is with the USMNT for the first time since 2021. He came off the bench in the 7-1 win over Grenada, nearly getting his name on the scoresheet in the second half.
The West Brom star is very much in the race to be the USMNT's starting striker alongside the likes of Ricardo Pepi, Josh Sargent, Jesus Ferreira, Haji Wright, Brandon Vazquez and, perhaps, Folarin Balogun.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR DIKE? Dike is likely to start for the USMNT on Monday night in his old stadium, Orlando City's Exploria Stadium. The U.S. will host El Salvador on Monday before Dike will head back to West Brom for an April 1 match against Millwall.
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