With 1. FC Heidenheim midfielder Lennard Maloney's dream of finally representing the United States at senior level nearing realization, USMNT head-coach Gregg Berhalter has commented on his reasons for selecting the Bundesliga professional.
|John Dorton CC-BY-SA 4.0
Among the many contributions Maloney has made to his newly promoted side this year, Maloney's relentless work ethic renders him a hot topic in German footballing circles. The Berlin-native continues to lead the German top division in distance covered. With a total of 89.95 kms clocked over seven Bundesliga match days, Maloney is even far ahead of other notable Bundesliga midfield rovers Ellyes Skhiri (85.97 kms) and Julian Weigl (85,04 kms).
Commenting on Maloney's nomination to the USMNT team this week, Heidenheim head-coach Frank Schmidt lauded his midfield talisman as an "outstanding character" with a "fantastic and humble attitude". The player himself - the son of a US Air Force veteran and German mother - noted that the chance to potentially play against Germany constituted a "incredibly special highlight" in his career.
It stands to reason that USMNT head-coach Berhalter will give the former Union Berlin and Dortmund professional a chance to do so tomorrow night, even if he doesn't start. Berhalter himself made certain to lavish praise on Maloney at a Thursday presser. The USMNT gaffer - himself a Bundesliga veteran with Energie Cottbus - explained the reasoning behind Maloney's selection.
"He's a team player who impresses with his emotion and passion," Berhalter said, "The way he spurns on his teammates and contests duels. He's a really committed and team-oriented player."