What next for DeAndre Yedlin?

Image: SpursWeb

For DeAndre Yedlin, it’s been quite the 12 months. This time last year he was a bright young starlet plying his trade with Seattle Sounders, bringing frequent admiring glances due to his powerful physique and even more so his electric pace. At 20 years old, his defending was still predictably raw, but he was equipped with a crossing ability that many experienced attacking fullbacks would envy. A collection of these qualities earned him a call-up to Jurgen Klinsmann’s US Men’s National team for the 2014 World Cup. This young player who seemed more NFL running back than MLS soccer player was to be Klinsmann’s wildcard.

In the World Cup, Yedlin excelled for the exciting American team. Assisting Dempsey’s goal in a 2-1 win over Portugal in ‘the group of death’ and a fearless performance vs. Belgium in the second round were particular highlights. Suddenly the whole world knew about DeAndre Yedlin.

After seeing off competition from Roma, and getting the thumbs up from former club legend Klinsmann, Spurs sealed Yedlin’s signature. Yedlin remained in Seattle until Christmas and then joined his new teammates in the New Year. Since then, first team opportunities have been few and far between for Yedlin, despite numerous occasions in the second half of Spurs’ season where they seemed to be crying out for pace and energy. Now fully acclimatised to life at White Hart Lane, a crucial summer and season await Yedlin. I look at some of the options that may lie ahead.

Biding his time…

Bought as a right-back, Yedlin still has plenty of work to do before he finds himself as Spurs first choice fullback. At the moment, despite his flaws, Kyle Walker stands firmly in the way. Walker and Yedlin are similar in many ways, neither is an out-and-out defender, and both rely heavily on their lightning pace to get themselves out of jail. Out of sheer experience of doing that for years (and once winning the PFA Young Player of the Year while doing it) Walker has got a significant head-start. However, Walker’s form took a dip this season and he is in serious need of a kick to get him back to his best. Blunders in Tottenham’s right side of defence were much too common this season and were a factor in an alarmingly high 53 goals conceded this year in the Premier League (With no top 4 team conceding more than 38). As a result, the whole defence will be open to improvement and Spurs will certainly be looking to avoid shoe-horning natural centre-backs Eric Dier or Vlad Chiriches into right-back again next season during any of Walkers’ absences. Yedlin therefore will certainly find more first team opportunities next season, especially as Spurs once again tackle the Europa League, however at 21, he may want more than an understudy role indefinitely…

This leads us to the option of a loan-move. A temporary switch could provide the perfect medium for Yedlin’s development. Yedlin will be itching for consistent game time to continue to win his place in the US squad, while Spurs would hope that he gains valuable experience and shows signs of improvement like previous loanees Danny Rose and Walker before him. It’s been said that Spurs have shown an interested in Burnley’s full back Kieran Trippier. Trippier wouldn’t provide the same dynamism as Yedlin or Walker but would bring an air of consistency and solidity. It’s highly likely that if such a move was to happen, Yedlin would go the other way on loan. However, the Championship may not be Yedlin’s ideal destination, in terms of his international career. As a result, we see one other maverick option for Yedlin…

To Dare is to do

Tottenham’s club motto suggests risky business is par for the course at White Hart Lane, another calculated risk may be the key for Yedlin. Last week, USA took on Holland in a thrilling international friendly. 3-1 up after 70 minutes and the Dutch were in cruise control. Enter: DeAndre Yedlin at right midfield. Catalysed by the Yedlin’s introduction, a whirlwind 20 minutes which saw USA run out 4-3 winners. Yedlin gave Daley Blind a torrid time and provided the assist for America’s first goal of the comeback. Since then he also starred in another impressive internatonal win as USA toppled World Champions Germany this week.

This season, pace was something often sorely lacking in Tottenham’s attack. Spurs were often left to rely on the hard-work of Harry Kane or the guile of Christian Eriksen for goals this season, and despite marked improvements in both Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela this season, neither is an out-and-out touchline hugging winger. With Chadli and Lamela both playing regularly as inverted wingers coming into the centre the result was a narrowing of Tottenham’s play, leaving Eriksen a lot less room to pull the strings in the final third. The occasional appearance of Townsend; a more old-fashioned winger, provided some joy this season. The extra width was crucial to some good performances (I’m looking at you Chelsea) however Townsend’s inconsistency meant this wasn’t a permanent fix.

Yedlin is still very raw, but with his pace and crossing ability he already ticks two major boxes for a premier league winger. With Yedlin providing the width, natural playmakers like Eriksen and Bentaleb could prosper with the added space, and the likes of Chadli and Lamela could be invigorated by the extra competition. It would certainly represent a risky move, but if Spurs could find a place for Yedlin on the right side of midfield like the USMNT have, he would provide a new dimension to Spurs attack. It’s said Spurs are looking for a winger in this summer’s market, but they may already have an ideal candidate in their ranks. And hey, the last full back they converted to a winger didn’t do so badly…

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  1. I always have to stop and remind myself that the US and the UK really speak different languages.

    In the UK a starlet is an up and comer, young emerging star.
    In the US, a starlet is a youg female who you want to have sex with.

  2. He should be deployed as a right winger for us next season. We will see just how good he is in pre season. A move further up the field would make sense as we need a player who is able to cross the ball instead of cutting in all the time like one trick Townsend. It's all good having pace(Lennon) but if your unable to cross after getting to the byline what's the point? I have said for months that he should be given a chance further up the field. He plays there for the USA and he hasn't looked out of place and they were games against Netherlands and Germany.

  3. Get him playing, simples! Right back, he be a damned site better than walker was last year, or play him right mid, with the hope Townsend and Lamela depart this summer! Coys.


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