Tyler Adams has only played once for the USA under Gregg Berhalter, but looks set to be given his preferred central midfield role moving forwards. - © imago images / Icon SMI
Tyler Adams has only played once for the USA under Gregg Berhalter, but looks set to be given his preferred central midfield role moving forwards. - © imago images / Icon SMI

“Tyler Adams is most suited to central midfield for USMNT” – Gregg Berhalter


The head coach of the US Men’s National Team, Gregg Berhalter, has revealed that RB Leipzig’s Tyler Adams will play in central midfield at international level in future, rather than in the more unfamiliar right-back role he has occupied in the past.

Adams, who has started Leipzig’s last three Bundesliga matches after recovering from a persistent groin complaint that forced him to miss six months of action, is viewed as one of the long-term stars of the US side. He has 10 caps to his name so far, albeit all in friendly encounters.

The New York native made his debut against Portugal in September 2017 under Dave Sarachan but has so far only featured once under Berhalter due to a series of injuries.

Adams has made just three Bundesliga appearances this season following a niggly groin injury. - Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images

It was in that game, a 1-0 win over Ecuador in March last year, that the former 1860 Munich and Energie Cottbus player tried Adams at right-back.

“We want to test it,” Berhalter said at the time. “We want to see how it looks. We want to see how he adapts and what he gives our team overall. I think if we have – you know, when you look at a profile of a Michael Bradley or a Will Trapp – a very controlling player and you have the dynamic guy next to him in Tyler, who can come inside and still be influential from that position, we think it’s exciting and we want to take a look at it.

“It may not work exactly how we have planned, and we’ll have to adapt. But I think, in theory, it’s something worth trying.”

The 20-year-old has also featured at right-back for Leipzig this season, playing 86 minutes as part of a back four during his comeback game against Augsburg on Matchday 17. He was deployed in right midfield in the loss to Eintracht Frankfurt at the weekend, having played in central midfield the previous week.

Adams (l.) could now form a dynamic central midfield partnership at international level with Schalke’s Weston McKennie (r.). - imago/ZUMA Press

Yet it seems that Adams’ lengthy absence, coupled with an injury to central midfielder Bradley and the emergence of Reggie Cannon and Nick Lima to compete with DeAndre Yedlin for the right-back slot, have led to Berhalter rethinking his plans.

“We’ve played him at right-back before,” he told sbisoccer.com. “I think he’s a good fit there because of his speed, his dynamic, his ability to process the ball and move forward with the ball and attack with speed.”

“We see him primarily as a central midfielder. We always have seen him as a central midfielder, but we know that when we need to be flexible he can play that position as well. We think right now the right-back position is filled with depth, and he’ll be most suited in our system in central midfield.”

Adams will next get the chance to stake his claim for that position under Berhlater during the next international break at the end of March, when the Stars and Stripes have friendlies lined up against the Netherlands and Wales.