He's Borussia Mönchengladbach's Mr. Reliable at right-back and for USMNT international Joe Scally, a solid start to the current campaign bodes well for the New Yorker's prospects with club and country.
The 19-year-old Scally has started every Bundesliga game this term under new Gladbach coach Daniel Farke, the tactician understandably delighted with the solidity shown by a defender who continues to grow in stature in Germany's top flight. A fine opening to the 2022/23 campaign - which has brought four wins and four draws to date - has the Foals mixing it among the big boys at the top end of the table and challenging hard for a return to European competition.
"I always said that I think at Borussia, we deserve to be playing European football; that's always the goal and it'll be our goal again this year," Scally explained ahead of this weekend's mouthwatering encounter against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Gladbach finished tenth in the table following an up and down season last term with Scally's campaign hampered after contracting a virus at the turn of the year. A lack of a consistent game time from that point until the end of season might have frustrated the ex-New York City FC defender but his willingness to battle on is testament to the teen's strength of character.
"I always felt confident in myself," Scally explained. "I knew I was here for a reason. I said that if I'm here then I belong here." And belong Scally most definitely feels at home under Farke, who has fielded the player 12 times between Bundesliga and DFB Cup for a total of 1,025 minutes.
"He's implementing a new style of play," Scally said of Gladbach's recently appointed tactician. "We changed from a back three to a back four. It's working out really well for us, we're trying to move the ball around, play with a lot of players in the centre and it's working for us."
And it's not just Herr Farke who has been impressed by Scally's strength and resilience. A certain Gregg Berhalter, the USMNT coach who gave Borussia's right-back his senior international debut against Morocco in June has also been keeping tabs on the young defender. "His development over this last year and a half has been great," Berhalter explained.
"He's played a number of different systems, had a number of different managers and has found his way back onto the field: the's the mark of the guy. I think Joe's strongest quality is his mentality. He never stops competing and coaches appreciate that."
The World Cup dream is certainly on for Scally, who has upped his number of caps to three following further appearances against Uruguay and Saudi Arabia. Continue along the path he has been following, and it would be hard to deny the full back a golden ticket to Qatar. "I hope if I keep putting in good performances and I keep getting minutes that it's enough to get me there," Scally said.
Watch: Scally, Marcus Thuram & Co. next face Eintracht
"Putting on the U.S. jersey is something special and I can only imagine what it's like at a real World Cup to put on the jersey and represent your country on the biggest stage," he continued. "You look at it on video games and you watch it as a kid; it would be amazing."
In the more immediate vicinity, Scally and his Gladbach teammates have one more crucial game in their promising Bundesliga campaign coming up, with Die Fohlen facing Frankfurt at Borussia-Park in Saturday's main evening fixture.
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