DeAndre Yedlin got star billing in the USA’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Venezuela on Saturday night, the Newcastle defender making his first appearance under Bruce Arena.
The friendly was in preparation for two World Cup qualifiers against Trinidad & Tobago (Friday 9 June) and Mexico (Monday 12 June).
Even better news for Newcastle fans was that DeAndre Yedlin had not been named in the USA’s preliminary squad for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, a tournament which runs from 7-26 July.
With Newcastle’s pre-season training starting on 3 July, it would have given Rafa Benitez a major headache, but it later transpired that US head coach Bruce Arena had agreed to leave the player out after DeAndre Yedlin requested it.
After watching Yedlin star on Saturday, Bruce Arena has been speaking positively about the attacking right-back, saying his time at Newcastle ‘has been good for him’.
The US team boss says that the former Spurs player has a lot going for him, being young, having improved in the last 12 months, and his natural athleticism.
However, he also believes that there is still room for improvement, especially if Yedlin can get as good with his decision making on the pitch as he is with his pace.
Bruce Arena speaking to the Washington Post:
“DeAndre Yedlin is an improved player.
“He is still a young player.
“He has got a way to go but athletically he’s very good.
“Now he has to learn to be a player who just doesn’t count on the fact that he’s fast, he has got to be a little better mentally on the field.
“His year at Newcastle has been good for him.”
As for DeAndre Yedlin himself, he thinks there is nothing to match the passion in the north east and has revealed he got abuse from Sunderland after signing on for Newcastle, though this was chiefly on social media.
“The passion is like no other place in the country.
“It (abuse from Sunderland fans) was mostly on social media, I’d see Sunderland fans (after signing for Newcastle) in the streets; they haven’t been bad to me.
“There will be the occasional fan asking why I would go to Newcastle.
“I don’t expect them to understand. It’s my career and I had to make a choice.
“It’s good to finally be settled in one place and hopefully for a long time.”