With the FIFA World Cup right around the corner, various national sides have dropped their 26-man squad lists for Qatar.
And among them was the United States Men’s National Team, who happen to be the youngest overall team heading to Qatar.
Naturally, the 26-man list features many talented young names including Gio Reyna, Brenden Aaronson, Sergino Dest and several others.
So it came as a bit of a surprise when 35-year-old Tim Ream was selected ahead of numerous young defenders.
Speaking to the media, USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter provided a bit of clarification, which came in the form of a fresh anecdote.
He said, “Tim Ream just played against Man City, and after the game, Guardiola walks up to him and says, ‘If you were 24 instead of 34, you’d be playing for me.’ So, Tim said, ‘ It’s too bad I’m not 34, I’m 35’.
In case you’re wondering about where Pep’s admiration stemmed from in the first place, it was due to the defender’s display against City.
The two sides met at the Etihad, in a game expected to be smooth sailing for the champions. However, a Joao Cancelo red card saw them down to 10 men, before Fulham cancelled out City’s advantage.
Winning was imperative for the home side, especially in regard to the title race.
Even with a man down, City dominated possession and looked impressive, but it was largely without avail as the visitor’s backline refused to go down.
Led by Ream and Issa Diop, Fulham’s defence held firm for the majority of the game, before being undone by a clever piece of play from Kevin De Bruyne which won City a penalty.
The 35-year-old’s performance in particular caught the eye of the City boss, who couldn’t help but offer a back-handed compliment after full-time. Considering that it was a bit of praise from Pep, we doubt Ream would’ve minded the age factor.
Nevertheless, his comment certainly aided Berhalter’s case for including Ream.
Aside from being a fairly solid inclusion, the defender will add some much-needed experience to the young American side.