By: COLIN REESE
By all accounts, Julian Green is a fast and two-footed attacker that brings strong 1v1 skills, goal-scoring abilities, creativity, and trickery.
World Soccer Source mentioned Julian Green as an Editor’s Note in the last two Best American Footballers rankings because Green is an 18-year-old player who hasn’t played enough in televised games to gauge how he stacks up compared to guys like Clint Dempey or Landon Donovan and players like Joe Corona or Juan Agudelo.
The talent is definitely there, which is evidenced by how highly Green is regarded by Bayern Munich and its players and coaches.
Julian Green’s player profile so to speak and his strengths and weaknesses as reported by coaches have all been the same: a technically-skilled and crafty two-footed attacker with the ability to score goals and take players off the dribble.
Green is an attacking midfielder or attacker that likes to cut in from the left, which is what many of the very best footballers do, and Green is likely a player that plays Robinho’s position, which is to say that he can be used out wide or as a second striker.
In this way, Green is similar to Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey who both play the same positions so to speak, and obviously both players can be started together.
Looking at Green, many have noted his 1v1 abilities and his pace, and so one could say that he is perhaps a combination of Donovan’s speed and ability to attack defenders at pace with Dempsey’s ability to use trickery with the ball at his feet to elude defenders.
While Donovan is also a creative player with his own bag of tricks that mostly consists of changes of pace and direction as opposed to dribbling moves or tricks such as stepovers, Cruyffs, elasticos, and behind the leg cutbacks while sprinting or jogging, Donovan unlike Dempsey uses speed more than Dempsey because Donovan is quite simply a faster player.
While Joe Corona and perhaps Benji Joya (who also plays as a Number 8) are the USA internationals with the ability to be the substitutes or replacements for Dempsey and Donovan out wide, Green is different in that he is a much faster player than both Corona and Joya who are midfielders, whereas Green is an attacker that one wants to carry more of a goal-scoring burden.
Green isn’t a first striker, but he is an attacker and goal-scorer that by all accounts has all of the technique and physical gifts to be an effective and dangerous attacker at the club and international level.
The United States has several quality first strikers in Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Aron Jóhannsson, and Terrence Boyd, but Green is a different type of goalscorer who hypothetically plays more along the lines of Robinho than along the lines of someone like Benny Feilhaber or Jozy Altidore.
The United States certainly needs creative attackers with excellent speed, quickness, goal-scoring ability, 1v1 skills, and creativity, so Green should be a valuable addition to the United States Men’s National Team, assuming he is allowed to play and develop without being heavily criticized if he doesn’t score every game and destroy defenders left and right for 90 minutes.
Americans seem to feel that skill players like Julian Green should only be used if they can dazzle people with goals every single game and electrifying trickery and dribbling, but more Americans should value creative skill players even if they don’t destroy the opposition all game, every game.