Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick has paid tribute to goalkeeper Zack Steffen following his reaction to being left out of the United States’ World Cup squad.
The Manchester City loanee was told the news just hours before the match against Blackpool last week which Carrick described as “poor” but he has praised the shot-stopper for putting in two “excellent” performances following the setback:
“He was obviously very disappointed to miss out and got the call four hours before our game with Blackpool in midweek, which was poor in my opinion. He kept it to himself, just went out and played – and only let us know afterwards. It shows the class and quality of the man. He was excellent on Tuesday and was excellent again today [on Saturday], making a lot of good saves.”
Steffen didn’t make the USMNT squad for the last two international breaks so he may have suspected that he wasn’t going to be on the flight out to Qatar but it doesn’t seem to have been handled very well, going by Carrick’s remarks.
Even so, he seems to have responded well, despite having to deal with the disappointment, and he will be keen to kick on after the World Cup with his performances for Boro.
Steffen has only managed to keep four clean sheets in 17 appearances since arriving from City, and he will be looking to make more of an impact in the second half of the season.