Julian Green (white jersey) has scored in each of the USA's last two matches. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Jurgen Klinsmann had a good inkling that Julian Green was going to do something special this time.
“The way he presented himself these 10 days from the first training session on, we said, ‘Oooh,’ ” the United States head coach commented. “He made a big step forward."
The 21-year-old Bayern Munich striker scored a goal in each of the Americans' recent international friendlies. He tallied in the 2-0 victory over Cuba in Havana on October 7 and added another goal in the 1-1 draw with visiting New Zealand on Tuesday.
“I’m really happy about it,” said Green. “It’s my goal to always be here in this team. When I’m here, I want to give my best. And I think I did very well.”
Although Green has struggled to find playing time in the Bundesliga, he’s finally showing the promise he showcased as a late-match substitute in the Round of 16 game at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, when he scored on his first touch in a 2-1 extra-time loss to Belgium.
Just as importantly, Green started back-to-back games for the U.S. for the first time in his career, demonstrating consistency and confidence.
"Julian Green is back in the picture," Klinsmann stressed. "He scored another nice goal today, but overall he's becoming more mature, he's becoming stronger, he's far more confident. It's really nice to see his development.
"For Julian, it’s just a maturing process. I think he learned a lot under Pep Guardiola and he learns a lot under [Carlo] Ancelotti. They're very, very good coaches and it's his job to be a sponge and learn from them."
It remains to be seen whether Green will be back in the picture for when the U.S. kicks off its CONCACAF hexagonal campaign for 2018 World Cup qualifying against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio.
"He’s still very young, and you have got to give them their up and downs and hope they mature one day at a time,” finished Klinsmann.