Julian Green insists he wasn’t rushed into the United States national team setup and gives credit to then-manager Jurgen Klinsmann for giving him an opportunity at the 2014 World Cup.
Green, 22, is currently on loan from Stuttgart with Greuther Fuerth in the 2.Bundesliga after stints with Bayern Munich and Hamburg, but is he most famously remembered for being picked ahead of U.S. veteran Landon Donovan by Klinsmann for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Despite seeing limited action for the Americans in Brazil, Green did score a goal against Belgium as the U.S. was eliminated from the competition in the round of 16.
And Green denied his opportunity in Brazil came too early at national team level, saying he was ready after having trained with the Bayern first team under Pep Guardiola in the run-up.
“No it was not too much and not too early,” Green said in an exclusive interview with ESPN. “I mean I’ve trained every day with the first team of Bayern Munich and went to the World Cup, so yeah, it wasn’t too much for me.
“Of course, it was a highlight of my career to play in the World Cup and at the end to score this goal was a dream come true for me and I’m very happy for this time there, now I’m looking forward to the rest of my career.
“I can play everywhere, I mean, I can play on the left wing, on the right wing or as a striker. The last game I was a No. 10 and I like it very much.
“We will see how it will be this season and I think we’re not having an easy time right now at the club, but I’m looking forward to the next games and I think we’ll do well.”
Green, who was seen by some as the next saviour U.S. Soccer after being picked by Klinsmann for Brazil, enjoyed a subsequent tour of the U.S. following the 2014 World Cup. He said he wasn’t surprised by the amount of hype and pressure associated with being seen as a rising star in the sport in America.
“Like I said, [the hype is] normal. Especially in the United States, that’s normal,” Green said. “They do get hyped so much and also if it doesn’t go so well it’s in the other way, so that’s normal and you have to handle that if you want to play at a high level. It wasn’t a problem and it won’t be ever be a problem for me.”
The Tampa, Fla. native had high praise for Klinsmann, Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti, and said he hoped that his experience over the years and this season would put him in the reckoning to once again feature on the international stage for the U.S.
He said: “Every coach I had was great. Every coach had a different style of playing and training. I’ve learned from every coach very much. Jurgen Klinsmann was a great coach and very important for me.
“The same goes for Pep Guardiola, I made my debut under him so I’m very thankful for that and, of course, Carlo Ancelotti, you saw that he won the Champions League title three times and how he worked was incredible for me and I’m very thankful for that.
“I am a striker I want to score goals, make some assists and get playing time. That’s the most important thing for a young player. Those are my goals and I will work hard for it and I think in the future you will see me again the national team.”
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