Leeds United‘s Brenden Aaronson may be in line to start for the USMNT ahead of huge World Cup knock-out stage clash with the Netherlands on Saturday.
The Whites had three players at the World Cup but only US pair Aaronson and Tyler Adams have qualified for the knock-out stage. They qualified from Group B in second place behind England after their 1-0 win over Iran on Tuesday evening, but Rasmus Kristensen’s tournament is over as Denmark finished bottom of Group D.
The USA face a Dutch side with Leeds’ summer target Cody Gakpo in it at the round of 16 stage, as they won Group A. However, Aaronson has yet to feature from the start for his national team at the tournament so far, being restricted to just 84 minutes across the three group stage games.
He will be hoping to change that at the weekend, but what has Jesse Marsch had to say about the 22-year-old and his situation ahead of the clash? He spoke to Men in Blazers and we take a look at TWO things he said here.
The big updated Brenden Aaronson quiz – Can Leeds United fans score 20/20?
Accepting the role
Marsch believes that Aaronson will be fine with whatever role is given to him such is the quality of his character, he said: “I think he accepts the role fully. He’s still young, he knows it’s a good group, a good team. He’s done well for himself and well enough that he should first option off the bench.”
He added: “He can wrap his mind around that role and do a really good job in it. If he were to start on any given day, he can do a job and he understands. He is a good player and he can help the team.”
Marsch knows the player well having worked with him at Red Bull Salzburg before he reunited with him at Leeds, he said: “I know that he’ll be ready in every role that he’s needed.”
Marsch revealed what he had to say to the midfielder prior to the tournament, he said: “I texted Brenden before the tournament started and I said to him – ‘Just commit to the team, give everything you have. The World Cup is a special moment. Believe in the group, believe in the coach, and now when you’re called upon be ready to make an impact in every way that you possibly can’.”
However, the Leeds head coach added that he does not believe Aaronson needed to be reminded because he has the right maturity and mentality despite his tender age, he added: “Brenden doesn’t require big reminders like that. He’s such a good kid, he’s a team player all the way and he’ll do whatever it takes.”
Aaronson has not played with much frequency yet, but Marsch admitted he would have given him more minutes by now, he said: “Obviously the games I’m watching, I’m like, ‘make a sub, get him on’ because I love the kid so much.”