U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann says Julian Green will benefit from struggles

PHILADELPHIA -- U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Julian Green's struggles to find playing time at German club Hamburg this season ultimately will benefit the young attacker.

"We talk, and I tell him 'Listen, this is a learning experience,'" Klinsmann told a small group of reporters here Wednesday evening. Green, a 19-year-old forward/winger who scored for the Americans against Belgium in the second round of last summer's World Cup in Brazil, has played just 118 first-team minutes so far with Hamburg, where he is on a season-long loan from Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich.

Last month, he was demoted to the club's under-23 side, leading to a public spat with the club.

"I got involved in it," Klinsmann said, noting that he spoke to both player and officials at Hamburg. "A couple of things were said not the right way. He was surprised that he suddenly was asked of play for the second team. He felt unappreciated for not being considered to good enough to start for the first team. It was tough for him. So he thought about that process, he talked with the club, and eventually he plays now for the second team just to stay in a rhythm. They are keen that he will break his way though."

Klinsmann was in Philadelphia ahead of Thursday's CONCACAF Gold Cup draw. The defending champion Yanks will face Panama, Haiti and either Honduras or French Guiana in the first round of the regional championship, which will be played in the U.S in July.

The coach said the expectations on Green after his brief star turn in Brazil -- he made just one fleeting substitute appearance at the tournament -- plus the fact that he arrived in Hamburg from Bayern haven't helped the Florida-born, Germany raised prospect.

"When you come to another Bundesliga team and you come from Bayern Munich, you are looked at very different. It's not Julian's fault. It's just the way it is," Klinsmann said. "They expect you to be their savior and score two goals every game. And that's not Julian Green yet. He's 19 years old. He's a player to be developed. I don't know what the expectations were."

But Klinsmann also suggested that Green's own lack of patience also played a role in the flare-up, which he attributed mostly to a lack of communication between the player and Hamburg coach Josef Zinnbauer.

Zinnbauer replaced the fired Mirko Slomka in September, less than a month after Green arrived.

"He wants to play, but he also wants to understand why things happen," Klinsmann said of Green, who also has had to adjust to living away from home for the fist time following the move. "The coach didn't tell him why he's not playing. So I had to call Hamburg and say, if that's the case, talk. I get always both sides of it, and then I make up my mind. Somewhere in between you find the truth.

"It will take time for Julian," Klinsmann continued. "These years are learning years. There are up and downs, and they are difficult."