A couple of weeks ago, I attempted to project the United States under-20 men’s national team World Cup roster for the tournament that begins in about three weeks. In it, I omitted Gedion Zelalem because I didn’t think his club performances warranted his inclusion. This is why I’m a lowly blogger and Tab Ramos gets paid to make these decisions, because it appears the talented midfielder will play some kind of part for the team in South Korea this month.
VVV-Venlo, the second-division Dutch club that Zelalem has been on loan from Arsenal with since January, has announced that he has left the club to join the U.S. U-20’s for a pre-World Cup training camp.
VVV-Venlo has announced Gedion Zelalem has left the team to join the U.S. U-20 team for a pre-WC training camp.— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) May 1, 2017
We have to assume that this means he either has a great chance to make the final roster or is already on the final roster. In all likelihood, a youth national team manager wouldn’t pull a player away from club playing time to evaluate him this late in the game. Zelalem, 20, was a member of the previous U-20 World Cup team in 2015 that advanced to the quarterfinals. So, while his play this season hasn’t been anything to write headlines about, it appears that Ramos has summoned him in for his experience in this kind of situation.