The United States men’s national team is around three weeks from returning to World Cup qualification. With that in mind, we thought it’d be interesting to evaluate how some of the team’s top players are doing this season. While all the MLS guys are just beginning their seasons, the players playing abroad have been hard a work. In this series, we’ll be talking to writers who cover the team’s these players play for to get a good sense of how they are doing headed into the return of the Hex.
In our first post, we checked in on Christian Pulisic. Next up, we take a look at DeAndre Yedlin. We caught up with Bryan Nelson of Coming Home Newcastle and asked him some questions about the USMNT fullback’s progress so far this season. Here’s what he had to say:
1. Give us an idea of what DeAndre Yedlin's current form is as of writing this
BN: In a defense that has had many ups and downs, Yedlin is doing fantastic. It shows by how highly Benitez thinks of him, and how the fans adore him. He's our jewel from the States.
2. Could you give us some insight on the rotation system Rafa has and why Yedlin isn't always a starter?
BN: Benitez likes to keep his squad fresh. He had a heavily rotated squad which means that a lot of players get a chance to prove themselves. And it has worked. Just look at the times Daryl Murphy came up big.
Yedlin is still younger than many on the squad, but he's learning quickly. If he was on the pitch every match, some other players may not get an opportunity to play. While I can only speculate on this, I feel that players have a lot to learn from the bench as well as the pitch.
3. As USMNT fans we have our opinions of Yedlin. As someone who gets to watch him on a weekly basis what do you think his strengths and weaknesses are?
BN: (Disclaimer: championship games are very hard to watch)
I think he has fantastic vision. He is a quick thinker and makes decisions with confidence. With that, not all his decisions are good and he definitely must work on taking his time with the ball as well. He likes to dribble the ball as well and has great control.
To answer on his weaknesses, I think WhoScored agrees with me.
4. Assuming Newcastle finish the job this season and earn promotion, what type of role do you see Yedlin playing in the Premier League?
BN: That's a tough answer to give. Roles change and it all depends on how Rafa handles the summer transfer window. I think that he has made enough waves to see himself as a consistent starter at right back. But we also could use more defense in midfield, a role that he can fulfill as well.
I think he'll be used more often next year but likely in the same capacity as this year.
5. Okay, pretend you're Professor Newcastle and give us a grade for DeAndre so far this season.