As the 2022 World Cup fast approaches, U.S. men’s national team players continue to fight for their spot on the roster.
At right-back, Reggie Cannon and Sergino Dest are going head-to-head to prove themselves to head coach Gregg Berhalter and secure their ticket to Qatar. Joe Scally and DeAndre Yedlin are also in the running. But the players insist the intense battle for the position does not take away from their friendship off the field.
“Sergiño is not currently playing in this camp, but he’s messaging me. That type of camaraderie within the group kind of helps us compete,” said Cannon during a media availability ahead of the Concacaf Nations League match against Grenada.
“Sergiño and I are in the same position. We’re competing for a World Cup spot, we’re competing for a World Cup roster spot, but that doesn’t mean that the relationship has to deteriorate.”
Dest remains sidelined after picking up a hamstring injury in late April while on duty with FC Barcelona, keeping him out of USMNT involvement. Despite his limited time with the national team, Dest continues to be the projected frontrunner for the position with several others not too far behind.
“Especially as deep as the right back position is, I think personally I can [say] the relationships we all have are so good. They’re my closest friends on my team, but we’re super competitive when it comes to training,” Cannon continued.
“When the person is getting playing time, you’re still rooting for the person ahead of you, still rooting for the team. I think that depth and that competition in friendly relationships is what’s kind of helped this team along.”
“A word to kind of describe it is like ‘frenemies,’ right? Where, you know, we’re friends off the field, but on the field, we’re competing, and I’m bringing it, you’re bringing it, and I think that’s positive. I’m trying to tackle the mess out of him,” he laughed.
With five months left to go until the international tournament, Gregg Berhalter will be using the upcoming Nations League matches to test out potential line ups. The USMNT hosts Grenada on Friday before traveling to El Salvador.
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