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Oguchi Onyewu, “almost certainly in Jurgen Klinsmann’s World Cup squad”

Oct 25, 2013, 10:20 AM EDT

Onyewu's glittering career is far from over, but one more World Cup appearance would leave him as a U.S. legend. Getty Images

Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp dropped some pretty significant U.S. national team news on Friday, following U.S. international defender Oguchi Onyewu signed a short-term deal with QPR.

Congratulations ‘Gooch’, it seems as though your spot in the USMNT World Cup squad is all but confirmed.

“Jurgen Klinsmann rung me about him,” Redknapp said. “To recommend him and he said he’s almost certainly going to be in his squad for the World Cup, and really was a big fan of his and liked him very much. Klinsmann said Onyewu needs to go and play somewhere, because he wants him for the World Cup squad.”

Okay, well, there you have it guys, straight from the horses mouth… sort of. English Championship side QPR have handed Onyewu a lifeline after he left Sporting Lisbon at the end of last season and has been without a club since. Redknapp revealed his been impressed with Onyewu in training, and will give the UMSNT stalwart, who featured in both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, the chance to shine in England’s second-tier.

(MORE: Americans Abroad – Onyewu signs for QPR, Brek Shea wants loan deal)

“He’s done well,” Redknapp continued. “He’s trained well, a fantastic boy with a great attitude and we’ve sorted out a deal, not a long contract… but it’s up to him now to come and do well.”

Onyewu, 31, has bounced around Europe with varying degrees of success in recent years and his chances with the USMNT has been hampered due to injury issues and a lack of playing time with AC Milan, Malaga and Lisbon amongst others. Now he may finally get the chance to shine at Loftus Road, as the R’s challenge for an immediate return to the top flight and are currently sitting second in the Championship with a game against league leaders coming up this weekend.

source: AP

Is Oguchi Onyewu a must for the USA’s 2014 World Cup squad?

If the Washington D.C. native can recapture full-fitness and his best form, no doubt he would be a valuable addition to the USA’s World Cup roster. However with young MLS duo Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez locking up the two central defensive spots as of right now, it seems like Onyewu should need a few good months of action under his belt to displace the likes of Clarence Goodson and Michael Orozco as back up center backs? Onyewu last played for the U.S. in the 2013 Gold Cup on July 13, as he captained the side in a 4-1 win over Cuba before returning to Europe after the group stages to sort out his club situation.

Regardless of whether or not 66-year-old Redknapp misquoted Klinsmann, the QPR manager did reveal how highly the USMNT coach rates the towering defender. And the fact that Klinsmann personally called Redknapp to arrange the deal shows how much faith he has in the defender to perform and be of use to him.

When informed that Onyewu once broke Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s ribs in a training ground bust-up a few years ago, Redknapp laughed and suggested he should lengthen the USMNT defenders deal so he didn’t get any punches thrown his way from Gooch.

“Oh my god, I didn’t know that,” Redknapp said. “I’ve got to be honest, you wouldn’t want to have a fight with this fella. He’s a big ‘un…. I think we better give him an extra year on his contract in case he ‘cops the needle with me. * But he could be a heavyweight boxer, he’s about six foot four.”

And if Onyewu can get his huge frame fit and raring to go for Brazil 2014, the USA’s defensive depth will be stronger for it.

*For those not familiar with Redknapp’s cockney terminology, he basically thinks he should offer Onyewu a new deal, otherwise he may end up getting punched like Zlatan. I’m sure you got that… just wanted to double check.

  1. cherry314 - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    I have always felt that Gooch brought a freakish set of physical skills to the position but every once in awhile he would have a brain fart that would cost the team. At least we will always have the picture of him staring down Jared Borgetti.

    • schmutzdeck - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:49 AM

      “brought a freakish set of physical skills to the position but every once in awhile he would have a brain fart that would cost the team.”

      That could describe Cameron, Gonzo, Besler, Brooks, Orozco and Goodson at times this cycle.

      • bear06 - Oct 26, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        Not Brooks that’s for sure because that kid is a beast.

  2. rafibomb10 - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    I always felt playing in a league like the Premiership was best for Gooch. His big size and strength, plus his prowess in the air would have been perfect for the English game. I never understood his move to Milan. Gooch is like the American version of Mertesacker, just with muscle. Its probably too late now.

    This is a good move for him now though. Hopefully Big Harry can get Gooch back into good form. Never hurts having big center backs like Gooch, Omar, and Brooks come World Cup time.

    • bear06 - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:30 PM

      Gooch didn’t do well when he went to Newcastle on loan.

      • schmutzdeck - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:52 AM

        To be fair, that Newcastle team was a steaming pile of pure unadulterated excrement from the owner on down.

        But yes, Gooch did sink to the level of the rest of the team.

  3. bob3612 - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Ha! Harry is composed of little but hot air, so it’s no surprise he’s spewing it to try to pump up his signing. I’m sure Klinsi called to help facilitate it – certainly he wants everyone in the pool playing so he has as many in form options as possible next summer – but it would go against everything he stands for to seriously say that a player who’s not playing for either club or country is a lock for Brazil. The “almost certainly” is almost certainly Harry’s invention.

    • bob3612 - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM

      That said, I am rooting for Gooch and would love nothing more than for him to recapture his vintage form and play his way into a spot on that plane.

  4. jimmycrackcorn99 - Oct 25, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Onyewu only started 2 games this year for USMNT, and that was during the Gold Cup. While I am a fan of increasing depth as much as possible, especially in the defense, you have to believe that there are other guys ahead of him on the roster.

    Lots of time until Summer 2014, we shall see.

  5. hildezero - Oct 25, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    Well, he WAS part of the US in the Gold Cup… But I don’t think he’s close to being part of the US in the World Cup.

  6. schmutzdeck - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    Harry is part used car salesman but he unquestionably has an eye for talent, especially the used car variety, the older bargain buy. Don’t underestimate Harry’s keen judgment of older players.

    And he knows American products. He brought Friedel back to Spurs. He also brought Ryan Nelsen, the best center half, after Eddie Pope, DC United ever had, to Spurs and then to QPR where he did a credible job for a 35 year old center half, before leaving for Toronto FC. And there were people at QPR who wanted Nelsen to stay.

    Gooch is basically filling Nelsen’s spot. Whether that is good enough to get him a ticket to Brazil, we will see.

  7. braxtonrob - Oct 27, 2013 at 12:50 AM

    I’ll believe it when I see his name on the final roster.

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