18-year-old striker Josh Sargent has named Wayne Rooney as an idol of his and reflected on the pressure of being one of the USA’s beacons of hope for the future.
After trails with PSV Eindhoven and Schalke 04, Sargent was snapped up by Werder Breman in January 2018 and debuted for the first-team last month as a 76th-minute substitute against Fortuna Dusseldorf.
In that Bundesliga game, Sargent broke a club record by scoring the fastest goal for a debutant with his first touch of the ball just two minutes after coming on.
The teenage star has since gone on to make another four appearances for Bremen and scored again at RB Leipzig on December 22.
Sargent’s rapid progress and playing style have drawn comparisons with England and Manchester United legend Rooney, who himself starred as a fresh-faced teenager for Everton in the Premier League.
“I liked Wayne Rooney a lot. I liked his style of play and how powerful he was on the ball,” Sargent told the club website. “I looked up to him.”
Hopes are high in the US over their prospects for the 2022 and 2026 World Cups with Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Haji Wright and Tyler Adams all starring in the Bundesliga right now.
Despite the growing weight of expectation on him though back at home, Sargent isn’t feeling the pressure to deliver.
“I wouldn’t say that I feel the pressure,” said Sargent.
“People can have their opinions, whether they see me as the next big talent or just an average player. I don’t really enjoy hearing other people’s views. I’m focusing purely on my own expectations, and how good I should be performing.
“Besides, the support recently has been phenomenal. Of course, I’ve been getting a lot from my family, but also a lot of people back home are pleased for me, and are tweeting words of encouragement, for example, and congratulating me. I can feel their love.”
The USA international does, however, aim to continue improving and gave some insight into the demands he places on himself.
“I’m very critical, as well as very competitive and performance-orientated, so I don’t enjoy it when I can’t do something,” said Sargent.
“If I notice that I’ve done something wrong or I can’t do something, I try to make amends as soon as possible.”