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Jurgen Klinsmann on T&T, Pulisic starting, Gooch at Sunderland, and Fabian Johnson’s best position

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The USMNT manager isn’t taking anything for granted heading into Tuesday’s WCQ vs. T&T

On Sunday afternoon, United States men’s national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann sat down for a Facebook Live Q&A with fans. The main theme of the chat was of course the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago.

Klinsmann stressed the importance of the match and made it clear that despite the astronomical odds in favor of the U.S. advancing into “The Hex,” he and his team aren’t taking anything for granted.

“We want to win this game badly. We want to finish our group in first place and head towards November opening our Hexagonal campaign against Mexico right away. So, it’s a really big game to us.”

“The message is clear. We want to take things in our own hands. We want to go full-speed from the first minute on aggressively, offensively, score and get the job done. So, we’re not sitting back and going for a tie. That’s certainly not the case.”

One of the biggest topics surrounding U.S. Soccer currently is the great play of 17-year-old Christian Pulisic. Many are clamoring for the youngster to finally get the chance to start, but Klinsmann is continuing to preach patience.

“Christian came in to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines [game] and did a fantastic job. He kind of made it look easy. Obviously we know he has tremendous talent, that’s why he’s with Borussia Dortmund, a Champions League team in Europe.”

“So, we’re going to build him one step at a time. A lot of people are anxious to see him starting from the beginning on. That day will come, there’s no doubt about it. But, for us coaches, it’s important that we build a younger player with patience and not too much hype and too high expectations. Be patient with his situation. We are thrilled that he’s growing and he’s getting more mature. Please take it one step at a time.”

Another young player fans are anxious to hear about is Lynden Gooch at Sunderland. The 20-year-old midfielder has won a starting spot at Sunderland to start this Premier League season. Many are wondering why he wasn’t called up to the national team. Klinsmann explains that he’s watching Gooch closely and constantly keeping tabs on his progress.

“We are watching Lynden. It’s a nice message to us that he broke into that team under David Moyes, that he gets his minutes there, he’ starting. The most important thing is that he keeps that starting spot at Sunderland right now. We are in touch with him and hopefully sooner or later, if he keeps going strong, he gets that opportunity for a call-up into the national team environment.”

Jurgen goes on to add his thoughts on the growing debate about Fabian Johnson’s best position.

“It’s a nice topic for everyone to tune into. I think he was the best right-back in Brazil at the World Cup. Then he’s suddenly playing left winger with Borussia Monchengladbach. Then he’s playing left-back for us. To have him on-board is huge because he’s a player used to playing at the highest level in Europe and playing in the Champions League. For us coaches, this is the biggest thing because we know he’s facing the best players in the world in the Champions League.”

“If he plays right-back, left-back, left midfield like he did in St. Vincent and the Grenadines it’s totally cool with us. If we switch him over maybe on Tuesday night to the right side it’s cool with Fabian as well. As long as he plays at 100 percent of his quality at either of those positions, we are extremely happy.”

He went on to discuss a multitude of other topics including Sacha Kljestan, the USMNT defense, and players trying to prove themselves all across Europe. You can watch the full FB Live Q&A below.