Bruce Arena expects Clint Dempsey at January USMNT camp

Trevor Ruszkowski/Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Spor

Clint Dempsey has been sidelined for the past five months, but he is going to be back in the United States national team fold soon.

New USMNT coach Bruce Arena told FOX on Sunday that he will invite the Seattle Sounders striker to the USMNT's January camp in preparation to get Dempsey ready for World Cup qualifiers. The USMNT resumes CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in March at Honduras and then at home against Panama.

“I spoke to Clint yesterday, he's making good progress,” Arena said. “I think obviously his health is a priority. We're hopeful we can bring him into camp in January and just casually get him back into the swing of things – perhaps not even consider him playing – and then have him ready to go as Seattle starts their preseason, and then hopefully he's ready for the US team when qualifiers come around.”

Dempsey was sidelined for the Sounders in August after it was discovered he had an irregular heartbeat. He returned to training briefly the following month, before being ruled out the rest of the year.

Under former coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Dempsey had been a key piece of the USMNT attack, with Klinsmann suggesting that 33-year-old Dempsey would still be a factor in 2018 for the World Cup in Russia. Klinsmann was fired three weeks ago and replaced with Arena, who coached the USMNT in 1998-2006. Dempsey is one of the few current U.S. played who played for Arena when he last managed the national team.

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