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Should Julian Green Be Included in the USA Roster come World Cup?

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(Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

ESPN Studio Analyst Taylor Twellman broke the news on Twitter that Bayern Munich’s Julian Green has decided to play for the United States National Team. The 18-year-old winger born in Florida was granted permission from his club to join the men’s national team training session before their April 2 friendly against Mexico.

Head Coach Jurgen Klinnsman told mlssoccer.com back on March 11 that he finds Julian Green to be “skillful, both footed, very calm on the ball, technically very gifted,” with “tremendous pace,” and “calm in front of the goal.”

There is no doubt that Julian Green is a special talent and there has been rumors flying around that he could be included in the US men’s national team roster. But despite the fact that he is talented and is playing for one of the best clubs in the world, it would be wishful to assume that he will be included in the 23 man roster for the FIFA World Cup.

Klinnsman has told the media that players have to earn their spot on the national team. It would be uncharacteristic of the manager to throw Green onto the roster and possibly ruin the chemistry that was being built amongst the original team members. Green has not capped at the senior level for Germany and the US, and with the World Cup coming less than three months away, there is not much time for him to get acquainted with his teammates.

During the time most of the aspiring US Men’s National Team members were mentally preparing themselves to fight for a spot on the team and appear capable to compete against the likes of Portugal and Germany, Julian Green was still pondering whether or not he should join the USA Men’s National team. And while it seems likely that a former German legend at the head coaching spot and a higher probability of A-team selections drew Green to side with the US, it’s best for the youngster to not get ahead of himself.

However, given the lack of productiveness from the right wing position outside of Alejandro Bedoya, if Green does make a significant impression during the friendlies then he should be given a spot on the roster. But in some case Green does score a hat trick and makes a contribution in every match leading up to the World Cup, I still would NOT put him in the starting 11.

It’s possible that Julian Green might be more talented than all of the wingers in the US Men’s National Team. Yet, those who have been consistently playing in the starting 11 should remain in the starting 11. Why? It’s easy to assume that experience would be the best explanation, but honestly it isn’t. It’s about Green’s mental development.

If Green was easily handed a roster spot and two spectacular performances later was placed in the starting roster, an inevitable sense of entitlement and slack progression would follow. If Green fails to earn a spot in the lineup or manages to make it on the team but plays sparse to zero minutes, he will be given a chip on his shoulder that’ll push him to work harder to realize that it’s not only tough to get a starting spot for Bayern Munich, but for the United States as well.

Julian Green is not the solution for the US to escape the group of death in the 2014 World Cup. He is an investment for the better years to come. He will turn 19 by the time the 2014 World Cup starts and will be 23 at the following tournament. Even if he misses this tournament, he still has plenty more ahead of him, barring injury (Knock on wood).

I still root that Green would make it to the roster just so he can learn from his seniors on what it means to play for the USA. The culture he will experience with the US team while in Brazil will be worlds different from what he sees at Bayern Munich. One week he’s with the world’s best club, the next he’s in a locker room with the world’s grittiest underdogs. A different mindset will develop as he watches his teammates figure out a way to win despite being overmatched in talent. It’s an inspiration that he can grasp and hold onto for the rest of his career so that by the time the next World Cup comes, he will be ready to send his country in one of its deepest tournament runs in history.