The striker is leaving a difficult situation at Werder Bremen to move to the Premier League Football, but success is not guaranteed, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that Josh Sargent is only 21 years old. For years, Sargent was earmarked as the next number nine for the U.S. men’s national team, and he burst into the spotlight at the U-17 and U-20 Football World Cups in the summer of 2017.
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But now, in the summer of 2021, Sargent has yet to fully grasp the role. At the start of Football World Cup qualifying, he was one of several contenders for the USMNT’s starting eleven, and although he was the favorite, the competition has intensified. Now, however, Sargent has made a move that will allow him to take control of the USMNT. By leaving Werder Bremen to join Norwich City, Sargent can show that he can be more and bigger than the strikers who have made steady but unimpressive progress in the Bundesliga.
Sargent will take a big step forward in his career as he is tested week in and week out in what is probably the most difficult environment for a young striker to shine in. I think Premier League Football is the best league in the world and it will thrust and challenge me to become an improved player, Sargent said upon his arrival at the club. At Werder Bremen, Sargent seemed to be treading water. Many aspects of his game took a step forward: his ball control, his work rate, his creativity.
However, playing for a team that was often eliminated in the preliminary round and eventually relegated, Sargent was never able to play the way he would have liked. During Sargent’s time at the club, Werder Bremen was a bad team, to say the least. In the 2019-20 season, Sargent’s first complete season with the club, Werder Bremen ended 16th and just succeeded to stay in the Bundesliga. They weren’t so lucky last season, finishing 17th and on the verge of relegation, with Sargent being the club’s top scorer with just five league goals.
For a player of Sargent’s caliber, the Bundesliga was a waste of a year. Next season will be crucial to his development, and playing in a promotion campaign where success is not guaranteed is not the way he wants to prepare for the Qatar Football World Cup 2022. Instead, he will continue to develop at another club that could struggle this season, Norwich. For more details about Football World Cup Tickets.
The Finnish star has been Norwich’s best striker since 2018. In that time, he has scored 67 goals in 126 games, including 11 in Norwich’s Premier League Football campaign two years ago. Pukki’s presence means Sargent could be deployed on the wing, which he could do, but it’s not an ideal position for a player looking to establish himself as a number nine under Gregg Berhalter. He could also play overdue or alongside Pukki, as it relics to be seen how the club will use the young American.
He needs to score some goals next year and, more importantly, get playing time to stay at the top of the U.S. national team. Despite Sargent’s struggles at Werder Bremen, he has developed a lot of skills that fit well with this U.S. team. He’s very committed to his role off the ball, he saved the game against Mexico, and he’s gotten better at opening up play for his teammates.
He is expected to be used in the first half when the U.S. begins its qualifying campaign next month. He was Berhalter’s first choice during the Nations League Football and seemed a perfect fit in a team with flank options like Christian Pulisic, Gio Reina, and Tim Vea. There will be competition for the No. 9 spots, however. Darryl Dyke is one of the contenders, even after a tough Gold Cup run that saw him plagued by injuries and possible fatigue. Gyasi Zardes is still in the conversation, as he is as reliable as ever.
Sargent’s move to Norwich is a calculated risk for him that could help him solidify his position for good as the 21-year-old striker heads toward his first of several Football World Cups with the United States.
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