Sargent to miss USMNT fixtures as Werder Bremen decline to release players for international duty

Josh Sargent Werder Bremen
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The 20-year-old will have to watch from afar as the Bundesliga club have decided not to let any of their players leave Germany due to Covid-19 worries

Josh Sargent will not be available to U.S. men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter for the upcoming friendly games with Wales and Panama.

Sargent’s club, Werder Bremen, have decided not to release Sargent for international duty due to coronavirus restrictions in Germany.

The USMNT play Wales at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium on November 12, before heading to Austria to face Panama four days later.

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A statement from Werder Bremen said: “The decision has been made due to a regulation from the Bremen health authority, which states that players who are returning from international risk areas must quarantine for five days.”

Sporting director Frank Baumann added: "We spoke with our players and with the various associations. FIFA are releasing clubs from their obligation to make players available for international duty if they have to quarantine upon their return.

“We know that the players would like to join up with their teams, but we cannot take that risk this time, given the overall situation.”

Bremen duo Jiri Pavlenka and Jean-Manuel Mbom will be permitted to leave for international duty as their games for the Czech Republic and Germany Under-21s respectively won’t require them to leave the country.

Provided there are no last-minute disruptions, the games with Wales and Panama will be the USMNT’s first fixtures since before the coronavirus pandemic.

Their only game in 2020 so far was a 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica. Ulysses Llanez scored the only goal of the game on his senior international debut.

Sargent’s absence will come as a blow to Berhalter, who has put together a fresh-faced young squad for the November international break.

Giovanni Reyna, Konrad de la Fuente, Chris Richards and Yunus Musah are among a number of young players to have been called up to the senior squad for the first time.

“This is a young squad and there are a number of young players plying their trade at the highest level in Europe and other guys who are breaking into squads in second teams, at Bayern or Barcelona. It is exciting,” former goalkeeper Kasey Keller told ESPN.

The average age of the squad is only a little over 21, with some suggesting it is the USMNT’s most talented squad ever put together.