Fulham star Clint Dempsey could start next season a month behind every other one of his team-mates at Fulham.

Boss Roy Hodgson reckons the winger is on the verge of becoming the all-time American hero in the Premier League.

But such are the demands of his country this summer, Dempsey will finish anything up to three weeks behind everyone else.

The USA are set to compete in the Confederations Cup with the final scheduled for June 27. The Fulham squad is due to return for pre-season training at the beginning of July – but they will do so without the much-improved American.

Hodgson said: “We’ll have to give him a holiday. In Europe, the season is reasonably well controlled, but the USA’s last game makes it a very long season for Clint.”

The 61-year-old rarely bigs up his own players – but in Dempsey’s case he made an exception.

“The likes of Brian McBride and Brad Friedel played and are playing at the top level for a long time,” he said. “But Clint could get his name etched up there with those players.

“He played a good part in helping us survive last season – and since then has just got better – and he’s blessed with a lot of natural talent.”