Sometimes, for whatever reason, a player seems more comfortable playing for his country than for his club.
Yes, they may only get a few games a year, compared to the never-ending cycle of football, but the national team can introduce a change of style, formation and teammates that can have a positive impact on some.
With the 2022 World Cup on the horizon, there may be concerns that a lack of playing time or rest in the club’s squad could affect a player’s chances of making an impact in Qatar. But fear not, for these six players, the probability is that they will perform better when wearing the national team jersey.
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Having looked so bright in his early days at Chelsea – he scored nine goals during his debut season in the Premier League – the USMNT captain’s development has stalled somewhat in terms of his football career. Having largely ignored Thomas Tuchel last season – he didn’t get long in his favorite role on the left side of midfield – the arrival of new coach Graham Potter could be a fresh start, or the beginning of the end. for his career at Chelsea.
But for his country, Pulisic has consistently performed well (he scored 21 goals and assisted 12 in 51 games, although some always expect more), and a hat-trick against Panama in March was his best time. His club’s form so far this season is raising some concerns – he’s still more than an hour involved in any competition – but he still has to hold his place as captain of the US team at the World Cup.
Although he has not made himself indispensable at Manchester United, Fred remains an integral part of Tite’s midfield in Brazil. Now in his fifth season in the Premier League, with over 100 appearances to his name, the left-footed defensive midfielder has rarely shown consistent levels of form other than the occasional spark of his unquestioned talent. Often uneasy or one-dimensional in possession and hesitant in the pressure match at club level, the 29-year-old appears to be playing more confidently for Brazil.
It is usually posted in the sitting role alongside a new clubmate CasemiroFred tends to stick to a simpler summary of international duty – generally creating a stable, balanced presence with the license to roam sporadically forward. While he’s not lacking in effort, he sometimes seems to run out of ideas upon receiving the ball for United (although he has shown signs of improving his attacking contribution during the second part of his final season), while thriving from the most visible. his country’s role.
Even during his periods without scoring goals with Chelsea, Werner continued to appear for the Germany national team. Although not lacking in movement, application and energy, Werner’s persistence in front of goal came under scrutiny during his fateful spell in London, scoring just 10 times in 56 league games. However, for Germany, his goal-scoring record is piling up against some of the best players at international level, with 24 out of 53 appearances.
After returning to the Bundesliga to join RB Leipzig for €30m in the summer, Werner mysteriously struggled to convert opportunities at club level; His current tally is just one goal from six league games (although he scored a hat-trick in a DFB-Pokal match.) As a striker who relies on movement and thrives on spaces, it’s no wonder his Chelsea coaches have been so inclined. He plays wide (and therefore off target), but in the Germany squad he generally plays as a striker where he is the most constant threat to their goals.
Although his minutes with Real Madrid – currently 98 from three games – appear to be dwindling by the month, the former Chelsea striker is still on track to play an important role for Belgium at the World Cup. Indeed, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez is happy to include Hazard as one of the number 10 – along with Manchester City. Kevin De Bruyne Despite his injury issues, he played consistently when matches were tough and fast (he appeared in all of Belgium’s four Nations League matches in June).
Despite being used sparingly at club level, Hazard (who has scored 33 goals from 120 caps to his name) recently proved crucial for Real Madrid when his second-half signing against Celtic scored a goal and assist for the European champions. His creativity, experience and quality on the ball may continue to be a deciding factor for Belgium in Qatar.
Not only has Depay maintained his stellar form for the Netherlands amid a period of personal uncertainty at Barcelona, he was arguably his country’s best player during the entire World Cup qualifier. With nine goals in as many matches, Depay’s contribution helped secure a World Cup ticket for the Netherlands, and he inspired the Nations League in June as well.
Depay may have regained some confidence recently from Barcelona coach Xavi after the end of a transfer window as he opted to stay at the Camp Nou despite multiple offers elsewhere, but given the club’s public willingness to let him go in the summer, it appears the majority of his playing time will come from his country. As the only player in the Dutch team to reach double digits (a respectable 42 from 80 matches), his experience and skill up front will be key to their hopes.
Previously one of the most productive midfielders in Serie A with Udinese (34 goals and 36 assists in 184 games), De Paul made fewer headlines after moving to Atletico Madrid in 2021 for €35 million. He has not found a regular place this season with one goal and eight assists.
However, De Paul’s starting point for Argentina does not seem to be in question (Although a court battle with his ex-wife complicates mattersas individuals involved in legal disputes may be denied entry to Qatar.) From a more advanced central midfield role in the Argentina squad, he is free to make his brand go into space and venture into the scoring centers.