ESPN FC: Chances to impress
U.S. national team captain Clint Dempsey has been given no guarantees that he has a secure spot on the 2014 World Cup team, coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Tuesday.
"There is no guarantee for anyone," Klinsmann said. "Clint threw himself into a shark tank coming back (to MLS) and the expectations are above the clouds; his own expectations are the highest, and therefore it is a huge process he is going through right now."
Dempsey, who returned to MLS after seven seasons in the English Premier League, suffered a shoulder sprain Sunday in Seattle's 1-0 loss to Portland and his status is uncertain for the Sounders' match versus FC Dallas on Saturday.
Klinsmann said he understood the pressure Dempsey must feel.
"I am very positive," he said. "He is now getting challenged in a very different way than he would be getting challenged in the Premier League because ... they have made him into the face of the league. He is not one of many in the Premier League and that is a very difficult task to deal with (because) they expect a goal every game, which is impossible because three guys jump on him.
"It is easier for Eddie Johnson to score the goals because he gets the space -- and we are happy for Eddie ... but guarantees for a World Cup that is seven months away ... no one has a guarantee."
The United States (6-2-1), which clinched its seventh straight World Cup berth last month, beat Jamaica 2-0 to seal first place in the 2014 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying group last week.
Klinsmann said the squad is "building up depth at both full back positions" and suggested that Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones can be leaders in the central midfield.
"We will build other people around that with Clint Dempsey if we guide him one step after another towards that World Cup," he said. "He can be an impact player, and with Jozy (Altidore) we have another kind of player who builds that spine."