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Tuesday, 30 April, 2002, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Gansler backs Arena squad
Former USA coach Bob Gansler knows the requirements of picking a World Cup squad
Gansler knows the requirements of picking a squad
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Former USA coach Bob Gansler has given his backing to the squad named by Bruce Arena.

Gansler managed the USA at Italia 90 and knows first-hand the laborious process of selecting a squad, and the controversies and second-guessing that invariably follow.

Now in his fourth year of managing Major League Soccer club Kansas City Wizards, Gansler spoke exclusively to BBC Sport Online to give his reaction to the squad picked by Bruce Arena to carry the USA's hopes.

He said: "I thought I was going to disagree with more of the players chosen. But, from afar, it seems to me that a good squad has been selected.

"It was a fair process that was used by the national coaching staff.

"For sure, there is always going to be some disagreement.

Open Quote
I agree on 16 or 17 squad members, maybe 15, but those are the guys who are going to play anyway
Close Quote
Former USA coach Bob Gansler

"The selection of players is a subjective art. Talent is like beauty, it's in the eye of the beholder.

"But once Bruce comes up with his starting 11 I don't think there will be people who'll disagree that any of those folks should be on the squad."

Gansler was not in total agreement with the 23-man squad named by Arena.

He said: "I agree on 16 or 17 squad members, maybe 15.

"But those are the guys who are going to play anyway.

"I don't think any coach goes into a World Cup and says he's going to play all 23 players, or even 20. More likely it's going to be a 16-18 man working squad.

USA coach Bruce Arena's selection largely meet with Bob Gansler's approval
Bruce Arena's squad largely gets Gansler's approval

"But the others are of importance also, keeping practices competitive, keeping the locker room on the positive side.

"So obviously a coach needs to look at the intangibles of those players, and how they will deal with that role.

"A coach has to look at the personality of players as well, not only their talent."

Arena has been accused in some quarters of favouring players who played with him at club level, but Gansler feels there will not be much disagreement on his starting line-up.

Gansler said: "Bruce has a history with some players in terms of them having played for him, or having played against him, so he's been able to observe them more than others.

"That's where there could be a disagreement.

Open Quote
I think you would get two-thirds of this squad named by the last four US managers
Close Quote
Bob Gansler

"You have gone down the road with those players as a coach and you know them inside-out.

"You know they will die for your team.

"Maybe sometimes they don't have quite so much talent as someone else.

"But because of their relationship with you, you want them as part of the squad.

"That's where there are some question marks, because of players like that.

"I think you would get two-thirds of this squad named by the last four US managers. And those are the two-thirds that are going to play and get you your points.

"You do some hand wringing on guys who are injured. You try to guage how close they are to coming and helping."

Open Quote
I am of the persuasion that it's a good idea to bring some of your best under-20 players to savour the atmosphere
Close Quote
Bob Gansler

With the USA having qualified for four successive World Cups through a Concacaf group in which they are now a major force, Gansler feels there is scope to give younger players a taste of experience.

"I don't think we played more than 16 players at Italia 90, and that leaves half-a-dozen players who are there for other reasons.

"I am of the persuasion, and some folks don't agree, that it's a good idea to bring some of your best under-20 players to savour the atmosphere.

"We had Kasey Keller and Chris Henderson with us for that purpose."

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GROUP D
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SOUTH KOREA 3 +3 7
USA 3 -1 4
PORTUGAL 3 +2 3
POLAND 3 -4 3

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