Maurice Edu is more important to the USMNT than you think

January 14, 2013

Since moving from Rangers to Stoke City late in the summer transfer window this August, Maurice Edu has played a grand total of ten minutes for his new club.

Being that Edu has played primarily a reserve role for the United States Men’s National Team over the past few years, many USMNT fans have viewed Edu’s club situation rather apathetically.

However, those fans should be worried as Edu’s importance to the U.S. set-up is more important than they think.

There is no clear backup for Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones

Edu’s primary positions are either as a No. 6, in the holding midfield role, or as a No. 8, as a box-to-box midfielder.

With Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones clearly having the inside track on those two positions, there should be some concern as to whom Jurgen Klinsmann would insert into the lineup should either not be able to play.

And, with Jermaine Jones’ tendency to pick up yellow cards like they’re going out of style, it is not inconceivable to think he would be unavailable in a tournament that counts cumulative cautions.

Danny Williams, who has started the last four games for the USMNT, has put in some up-and-down performances as the team’s holding midfielder.

And Kyle Beckerman, to everyone except Jurgen Klinsmann, is clearly not international quality.

Maurice Edu, while admittedly not as good, or as flashy, as either Bradley or Jones, may very well be the U.S.’ best option should either go down.

If he continues to get relatively few club minutes, however, his form will certainly drop and continued call-ups to the USMNT will be unlikely.

Maurice Edu’s versatility is a huge positive

Edu’s versatility also makes him a valuable asset to the USMNT.

As solid holding midfielder, should Jones or Bradley be unable to play, Edu could fill in quite easily.

Against a weaker opponent, Edu’s ability as a holding midfielder would allow the U.S. to deploy either Jones or Bradley further up the pitch.

Against a superior opponent, having Edu would allow the U.S. to deploy a two defensive-midfielder formation and sit back.

Finally, with the U.S.’ persistent problems at center-back, Edu may still be a viable option there.

To think that the U.S. is essentially auditioning two center-backs in Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler at the January camp for potential starting positions in the hexagonal is downright scary.

While I’m as hopeful as every other USMNT fan that both of them with become the next Geoff Cameron, between the two of them they have a grand total of two caps (both of which belong to Gonzalez).

Although Edu does not seem to be the full-time solution to the U.S.’ problems at center-back, he proved in the Mexico friendly that he is, at the least, not incompetent at the position.

Furthermore, Edu’s ability to play multiple positions would make him very valuable in a World Cup where a team is likely to go deeper into its roster due to injuries, fatigue and suspensions.

Maurice Edu can score goals

While Edu is not by any means an offensive juggernaut, he does occasionally contribute on the offensive end—usually on set-pieces.

Here are some examples.

In the first video, Edu scores a 93rd minute winner for Rangers in the Old Firm.

This next one is Edu’s goal against Slovenia in the 2010 World Cup. This goal should have won the game for the U.S. except for the phantom foul that was called.

In total, Edu scored 12 goals in his Rangers career.

Maurice Edu needs to get the heck out of Dodge (Stoke)

Last week, reports emerged that Edu may be on his way out of Stoke with several Ligue 1 clubs reportedly interested.

For the sake of the USMNT, hopefully, this is true. The USMNT needs a fit and in-form Edu.

John D. Halloran

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2 Responses to Maurice Edu is more important to the USMNT than you think

  1. Matt Swift on January 14, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    I agree with this 100%. Actually I think Edu is a flat out better player than Jermaine Jones but that’s just me. People seem to hate on Edu though, yet players such as Jones, Shea and Beckerman get over-hyped. Edu is great off the bench and plays solid.

  2. John D. Halloran on January 14, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    I think Jones has more talent, but at least you know what you’re getting with Edu–solid and consistent play.

    Jones is a bit of a loose cannon and can be wildly inconsistent.

    Agree on Shea too.

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