Clint Dempsey started on Monday with some fitness testing, then spoke eagerly of training for a few more hours in South Florida’s sweltering heat and humidity.
The US forward finally has matches to prepare for again. He has not played in a competitive game since June, a streak he hopes to see end on Friday when the US head to Jamaica for the start of a home-and-away World Cup qualifying series that could go a long way toward which nation gets to take control of Group A.
It all comes not long after his status in Europe was finally sorted out — with him now playing for Tottenham Hotspur, after more than five years with Fulham.
“I’m very relieved. Looking forward to getting back to playing,” Dempsey said. “I think the new team is a perfect fit. They qualified for a place last season for Champions League, but missed out on a technicality.”
The Americans will train in Miami until flying to Jamaica today.
Dempsey led Fulham with 23 goals last season and has long spoken of his desire to play at the highest level — which, for him, means Champions League. Tottenham finished fourth in the Premier League last season, but missed out on getting into the Champions League after Chelsea won the title and England’s last qualifying spot, the “technicality” Dempsey spoke of.
It seemed like Dempsey was headed to Liverpool. Talks broke down and it was not until the trade window was nearly closed before Fulham struck a deal with Spurs.
“Ready to get going. Excited,” Dempsey said.