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‘Borderline cockiness rooted in confidence’ – American youngster Clark has personality to succeed at RB Leipzig, says Marsch

The newly-hired manager discussed the club’s signing of the New York Red Bulls teenager and the possibility of someday signing Brenden Aaronson

Newly-hired RB Leipzig manager Jesse Marsch says that Caden Clark has both the personality and the playing ability to shine in Germany as he said the American teenager has “borderline cockiness” that will help him adjust to the pressures of Europe.

Clark is set to join RB Leipzig this winter after finishing up what would be his first full season with the New York Red Bulls as he becomes the latest American youngster to join one of Europe’s top clubs.

In an interview with Goal, Clark detailed his love for attacking, saying that his goal is to be a “killer” once he gets the ball in the final third, and March says that will set him up perfectly for life at Leipzig when he does make the leap

What did Marsch say about Clark?

“I was back home back at the end of May and I went to the New York Red Bulls Training Center and I met him for the first time that day and then I had a follow-up conversation with him a few weeks after that,” Marsch said.

“Always the key is trying to get to the personality of who a player is, especially young players, and Caden, you can see has energy and he has confidence and he has self-belief. It’s borderline cockiness but it’s also rooted in just confidence in who he is and what he’s about.

“So that for me is always the best starting point. I can even remember meeting [RB Leipzig and U.S. men’s national team midfielder] Tyler Adams when he was 15 years old and being like: ‘Okay, we have something here’, so that’s exciting.”

It’s not just the mental aspect of Clark’s game that’s left Marsch impressed, but also his actual ability on the field.

The Red Bulls teenager, who missed out on the USMNT’s Gold Cup squad due to an appendectomy, has scored six goals in 12 MLS appearances, with several of those goals being of the spectacular variety.

“Clearly, he has the potential to play football the way that we think,” Marsch said. “He can run, he’s aggressive, he’s talented with the ball, he’s creative around the goal. He’s clearly shown that he has quality. I think a combination of really aggressive personality with an aggressive way of playing fits really well with the way that we think about football here in Leipzig.

“It’s important for him to stay focused and that was my message to him the last time I spoke to him. It’s really important for him to stay focused on his development there in New York and committing himself 100 percent into what’s going on there in New York and Leipzig should be something that’s in the back and not in the forefront right now, but I think he I think he’s mature enough to understand that.”

An eye on Aaronson

At RB Leipzig, Marsch will not just get to work with Clark when he does head to Germany, but also Tyler Adams, a player he helped bring develop during the duo’s time with the New York Red Bulls.

Over the years, Marsch has worked with several top young players, from Adams and Matt Miazga in MLS to players like Erling Haaland, Patson Daka and Takumi Minamino at RB Salzburg.

He’s also managed Brenden Aaronson, the USMNT midfielder that made the move to Salzburg last season, immediately shining upon his arrival in the Austrian Bundesliga.

The former Philadelphia Union midfielder scored seven goals in 25 appearances in all competitions and, when asked if he’d like to bring Aaronson to Leipzig, Marsch says he is one of several players he’d love to work with again in an ideal world.

“Brendan was another young man that, when I first talked to him, I could see the energy in his personality,” he said, “and so when he came to Salzburg, it was a big adjustment: the speed of play, the level of training, the expectations that we have for players. But he adapted so quickly, and the more information we gave him, the more hungry he was for us to give him even more.

“With his type of personality the team accepted him so well and he became almost immediately a big part of the group. It says two things: it says a lot about who Brendan is and it says a lot about the type of environment that we had there in Salzburg.

“I’ve said this often: there are like 15 players from Salzburg I’d like to bring here. But it’s not so easy and Brendan is a good player and certainly he has big ambitions, and he has a big future in front of him.

“I don’t want to put any pressure out in the media or any pressure on any one particular player. I want those guys to enjoy their time together and enjoy what they’re doing in Salzburg. But certainly, just from the fact that I’ve worked there and I have such a good relationship with Brendan I’ll certainly keep my eye on what he’s doing.”

Further reading

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