Jimmy Conrad backs Leeds' Brenden Aaronson to start against England
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Jimmy Conrad backs Leeds' Brenden Aaronson to start against England

Former USMNT international Jimmy Conrad has told the In Soccer We Trust podcast that he wants to see Brenden Aaronson start against England on Friday – particularly if Weston McKennie is not fully fit for their World Cup clash.

Leeds United fans were left scratching their heads when the US lineup was announced for their opening game against Wales on Monday.

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Tyler Adams had already been confirmed as captain. So it was no surprise to see him in the side. However, there was a contentious decision involving his Leeds teammate, with Aaronson left on the bench.

Aaronson needs to start

The decision did not hurt the US early on. They went into the break 1-0 up. And they were comfortable against Rob Page’s men.

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Aaronson came on during the second-half. But by that stage, the momentum had turned. And Wales would get a late equaliser through Gareth Bale.

The draw means that the USMNT really could do with getting a positive result against England on Friday. And Conrad suggested that he wants to see Aaronson come in for McKennie – who has been valued at £26 million – to try and give Gareth Southgate’s midfield something to think about.

“If Weston McKennie isn’t 100 percent, I don’t know if you risk him in this one. If you do think you’re going to rely on him in the Iran game, which obviously could prove to be the one we need to win and have to win to get to the knockout rounds, I don’t know if I’d want to risk him if he can’t go and cover the ground that we need him to,” he told In Soccer We Trust.

“I really like Brenden Aaronson in that space. I think it will force a Declan Rice or Jude Bellingham to have to be a little bit more thoughtful about where he is and have to track him a little bit.

“I think Brenden Aaronson would probably give us a little bit more.”

Leeds star’s Premier League experience should help

It is hardly a gamble to use Aaronson against England. He is someone who has proven himself in the Premier League already following his summer switch to Elland Road.

He is relentless, and an absolute pest when it comes to pressing and stretching defences.

The attack is a real weakness for the US. There is still a debate to be had about who their best striker option actually is. And that is largely down to none of the players in Berhalter’s squad stamping their authority on the position.

Aaronson has not been prolific since moving to Leeds. However, he is another player with the potential to produce a bit of magic.

If the US are going to get a positive result, they may need all the quality they can get out on the pitch.

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