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Michael Bradley expected to return for Roma against Napoli

Oct 12, 2013, 1:58 PM EDT

Michael Bradley AP

According to Italian website Corriere dello Sport, Michael Bradley is poised for a return to club football. The U.S. international is expected to be fit for Roma’s clash against Napoli on Friday at the Stadio Olimpico.

Bradley signed for Roma from Chievo Verona in summer 2012. The midfielder worked his way into a starting position under coach Zdenek Zeman, and maintained that role after Zeman’s firing, featuring heavily under caretaker manager Aurelio Andreazzoli. In his first season at Roma, Bradley notched 30 league appearances, 23 of those starts, and scored one goal, in the 2-0 win over Atalanta.

But this season has been tough on Bradley, and it’s likely to stay that way. He injured his ankle in early September, just before the USMNT qualifier against Mexico. Prior to that, he’d played just twice for his club, starting in the first match of the season against Livorno, and coming on as a substitute against Hellas Verona.

Now his status as a regular at Roma is in doubt. The club is now under the management of Rudi Garcia and are off to a flying start to the season, having won seven of their seven games. One of the most important elements of this new-look giallorossi is Dutchman Kevin Strootman, brought in this summer from PSV. He missed out on the first game of the season — the one Bradley started — but has been essential ever since, playing the full 90 in four of his six starts and notching four assists.

Roma have spoken out about not wanting to sell Michael Bradley. But it’s unlikely that the American, who has improved so much over the last two years with regular playing time in Italy, will get to see much of the pitch. The giallorossi aren’t involved in European competition, after all. Barring an injury to Strootman, it’s likely that the majority of Bradley’s minutes will come from the bench, with Garcia’s team needing a pair of fresh legs or extra reinforcement to lock down a result (although with twenty goals for and one against thus far, the latter scenario is looking unlikely).

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