Fulham and USA join forces to protect Clint Dempsey
Published 23:00 14/12/09 By Nick Ive
Roy Hodgson has joined forces with USA boss Bob Bradley to ensure Clint Dempsey doesn't suffer from burn-out.
Dempey remains a key man for the Cottagers and has appeared in every Premier League fixture this season, as well as playing his part in Fulham's Europa League campaign.
That comes after USA's involvement in the Confederations Cup last June and his country's subsequent World Cup qualifying campaign.
The 26-year-old will not get much of a break next summer either with the finals in South Africa looming.
And Hodgson is determined his midfielder is used wisely for both club and country to ensure he remains in top form.
The Fulham boss said: "I think we have worked very hard to ensure he gets the rest periods he needs, sometimes enforcing it upon him.
"Bob Bradley is very good in that respect. He is aware also that Dempsey is an important man for him and doesn't want to burn him out by insisting he plays every USA game.
"He realises that I, too, am trying to help the player stay fresh as much as I possibly can and he is on the same wavelength, so it's a very simple discussion.
"And, in fact, the USA did something I don't think any other team did. When they qualified for the World Cup, they had another couple of matches after that and they didn,t use Dempsey for those, they used domestic based players. That is very good."
Fulham continue their Europa League campaign tomorrow with a must-win match in Basel.
And Hodgson will again make changes to his team, with Dempsey likely to be left out of the starting line-up.
He added: "In the last two games we've played in the Europa League, I have had him on the bench to give these guys a rest.
"We are very aware of the need to juggle. I am very fortunate in the wide midfield areas that we have tremendous competition for places, so I can afford to leave Duff and Dempsey, who have been the first-choice recently for the wide positions in the league, out of the European games."