Jones setback – But what about Edu?

Maurice-Edu_2131291
While U.S. fans have been keenly tuned into the injury comeback and setbacks for Jermaine Jones – a new report indicates he will be out additional six weeks after needing another surgery on his broken leg – but there has been very little ink spilled in the U.S. on Maurice Edu whose return after surgery four months ago still looks far away. I think some of this focus is misplaced. We essentially may be renting Jones for just one tournament, while Edu may be their for the next three world cups. For the long-term sake of the US program getting Edu fit and playing is essential and should be getting a bit more attention.

Don’t get me wrong Jones is now by far the best and most accomplished US midfielder. And the best player should start in the defensive midfield role. The fact that he is only a recent convert to the USMNT also doesn’t bother me at all. But Edu is one of the future stars of the US program and looks to have a central place in the U.S. side over the next decade. He will be 24 for next years cup and could be around for 2014 and 2018 world cup cycles.

Going into the confederations cup this summer the player that I was most excited about was Maurice Edu. While some in Scotland prematurely called him a bust after he struggled with injuries, following the Barry Ferguson meltdown Edu was given a chance and he seized it. He helped lead Rangers to the SPL title and a dramatic overtaking of Celtic. But on the last game of the season he went down with a knee injury. We were told he would be back for the start of the season, but now 4 months after he went under the knife the timing of his return is still unknown. What I can gather from Edu’s twitter feed is that the knee has healed but is still a bit unstable. Rangers are right to go slow – knees are not something to mess around with – and with Edu still very young (23) the worst thing would be for him to return too soon. But to me his return is crucial – perhaps just as crucial to the USMNT than Jones.

Beyond this world cup I am not sure if Jones will continue on with the national team. He could definitely make the 2014 World Cup at 32 years old – but I wonder whether he would really want to go through the long hard slog of the next four year cycle. Playing for the US national team is not easy – a player really has to want it. US players are not yet national celebrities the way they are elsewhere and there is a lot of long distance travel. Unlike the rest of the yanks playing abroad – who perhaps enjoy returning home to the states – for Jones going to the US will in fact be a case of him leaving home not returning. Furthermore playing for the national team adds another month to six weeks to an already long European season – not to mention the games in the middle of the season. Will Jones really want to play in the 2011 Gold Cup instead of going on vacation? To be fair, I have no reason to believe he won’t be super committed to the national team, but their is a high degree of uncertainty there.

In the end having both healthy and fit will give us the deepest midfield we have ever had, especially with it looking like Ricardo Clark will move to Europe in the winter. Lets just hope come June Bradley will have the healthy problem of choosing between three fit and accomplished defensive midfielders.

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One Response

  1. Very intereresting reading. thx

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