Jurgen Klinsmann went on The Herd with Colin Cowherd before yesterday's Copa America semifinal match against Argentina.
According to Klinsmann, it's up to Clint Dempsey if he will to go to the 2018 World Cup in Russia:
Colin Cowherd: How hard would it be not to include [Dempsey] in a World Cup roster?
Jurgen Klinsmann: It’s totally down to Clint because it’s all about quality. It’s not about age. It’s not about if you’re 18 or 20 or if you're 35. If you get the job done – and right now, Clint Dempsey is getting the job done – that’s what you want to have as a coach. You want to have someone up front that is clinical and doesn't have two thoughts and scores his goals within a split second. It’s totally up to Clint Dempsey how far he wants to take it.
You can listen to the full interview here. (Klinsmann comes in at the 1:29:50 minute mark.)
Prior to the Copa America, there were calls for a new generation. The old names (Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman, and Chris Wondolowski) were being mentally put out to pasture by fans and media, with the expectations that this tournament to be a swansong for them.
Two of those players -- Dempsey and Jones -- proved their worth at the Copa America. Despite being well into their thirties, Dempsey is still the focal point of the USMNT attack and Jones is a do everything box-to-box midfielder.
Dempsey paired well with Bobby Wood, and it seems like they'll be leading the attack through the World Cup. If there was a lack of chemistry between the two, then one could make the argument that the older players are holding back the younger ones. There isn't and you can't.
If Klinsmann wanted to replace Dempsey, there isn't a player in the pool who possesses his combination of passing, scoring, and leadership abilities. It's hard to replace an attacking player who has a
hand foot in almost every goal the team scores.
Eventually, Dempsey will ride off into the sunset, most likely after the 2018 World Cup. He'll have secured the U.S. men's national team goal scoring record and (theoretically) led the national team to another World Cup, his fourth.
The people who want Dempsey to be replaced will have to wait two more years. The people who never want to see him leave have at least a little more time to see him in a national team jersey.