With as intriguing a crop of young talent as the program has had in years, you can count Arsene Wenger among those who are bullish about the future of the US men’s national team.
Wenger was asked about his thoughts on the USMNT in a recent interview with French newspaper Le Parisien, and the legendary former Arsenal coach has evidently been keeping tabs on the rising generation of players that have helped create all the recent buzz surrounding the Yanks, saying that he expects the US to make some legitimate noise in the coming years and that he could envision a sustained run when they play host for the 2026 World Cup.
There are multiple reasons for that, Wenger said, starting with the ever-growing group of young players that are breaking in at some of the world’s top clubs and are helping push interest in the sport in the US, as well as the dominant success of the US women’s national team.
“The US will, in 2026, have a good team,” Wenger told Le Parisien in quotes relayed by Goal.com. “They will be there. They already have, amongst the younger players, a good dozen who play in big clubs. In the United States, it took a lot of time for football to come to the fore.
“Today, it is. Some sports are losing ground amongst young people, like baseball, others have been the victim of health dangers, like American Football. The women, who are World Champions already several times over, have contributed a lot to its development. So to has the hispanic community, crazy about football, and the presence of stars in the MLS.”
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Segino Dest (Barcelona) and Weston McKennie (Juventus) are at the forefront of the group Wenger is referencing, but it seems to be expanding all the time. Orlando City SC striker Daryl Dike was the one turning heads on Saturday, as he scored his third goal in his last four games during his loan spell in the English Championship with Barnsley FC.
Wenger, of course, became one of the most respected managers of his generation during his stint with Arsenal from 1996-2018. The US is slated to host the 2026 World Cup along with Canada and Mexico.