Former Spurs player and current USA national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann gave a live Q&A on Facebook ahead of the Copa America draw last night. One of the questions concerned young Tottenham Hotspur fullback DeAndre Yedlin, his loan at Sunderland, and how it's impacting his development as a USA national team player.
"Obviously every time he gets on the field and gets minutes, it's huge for us. We monitor him and talk to him, so hopefully he gets even more minutes in the upcoming weeks. He's very talented obviously but he still knows that he has a way to go and a lot to learn. By talking to him and also to his club coach, we hope that there's a lot more to come in the next couple of months."
It's a little hard to say that playing for Sunderland under Sam Allardyce has been the best of all possible moves for DeAndre Yedlin's development. When Yedlin went on loan at the beginning of the season, Sunderland were playing under Dick Advocaat, and it seemed as though Yedlin would have a decent chance to establish himself as a weekly starter. Since then, Sunderland tanked, Advocaat was fired, and the club hired Allardyce to keep them up. Yedlin has barely gotten into the team, making only 11 appearances for the Black Cats, as Allardyce has somewhat unsurprisingly preferred Billy Jones at right back. Big Sam tends to favor players with prior Premier League experience, which has left Yedlin on the outside looking in.
However, Klinsmann's comments are correct in the sense that getting some first team minutes for Sunderland is ostensibly better for Team USA than getting no first-team minutes for Tottenham. In that way, any loan is good for Yedlin, since he's already clearly behind both Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier in Tottenham's lineup. As USA manager, Klinsmann is primarily concerned with whether Yedlin is learning and growing enough as a footballer so that he can continue to be a major contributor for his country, especially with the Copa America Centennial coming up this summer.
In hindsight, Yedlin's loan to Sunderland is probably not the best thing that could've happened to his Premier League career, but it's not entirely his fault. Is a "bad" loan with Sunderland better for his development than a year with the Spurs reserves, or a loan back to Seattle in MLS? Probably. Yedlin still has a chance to play a role in rescuing Sunderland from relegation this spring, and a strong showing in the Copa America with Team USA this summer could be just the thing to launch him back into contention for a roster spot with Spurs next year.