Clint Dempsey has been called up to the United States squad for their next round of World Cup qualifiers at the end of March.
The Fulham midfielder has been a regular in the USA side since the last World Cup and has now established himself as one of the most important players in the national team. His form with the Whites this season has been outstanding and he will hope to carry it into the international arena as the States try to secure qualification for South Africa.
Having beaten Mexico 2-0 in their first qualifying fixture of this phase, the USA travel to El Salvador on March 28 before entertaining Trinidad and Tobago in Nashville three days later.
Former Fulham winger Eddie Lewis, now looking to revive his career at the LA Galaxy, has praised Dempsey’s determination.
Dempsey is an incredible example [of an American struggling to establish himself in the Premier League]. Coming into this summer, he was out of favour. I don’t think he was expected to have too much of an impact this season.
He got pushed out. He literally fought his way back into that team. He’s been playing quite a bit. He’s scored some important goals for them this season. Honestly, every minute he gets, he’s earned.
He was their leading scorer last season. I think he thought he’d come in this season and be very comfortable in the starting eleven. That’s never the case. Certainly never as a foreigner and maybe even a little more so as an American. You get nothing. You constantly have to fight them off and I think he’s just done an incredible job.
He’s a real competitor. Sometimes, as talented as you are, if you don’t have that – it’s hard to be a foreigner there. It’s not like here or anywhere else. Nobody is looking out for you or trying to help you out. Generally you are taking another British guy’s position, so it’s hard.
UPDATE: Jason in the comments rightly points out that Eddie Johnson has also been called up to the USA squad. Well done Eddie. The full squad is as follows.
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Marcus Hahnemann (Reading).
DEFENDERS: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Danny Califf (FC Midtjylland), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United).
MIDFIELDERS: Freddy Adu (AS Monaco), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca), Clint Dempsey (Fulham).
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Xerez C.D), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (Cardiff City).