Hearts midfielder Perry Kitchen’s hopes of representing the USA at this summer’s Copa America have been dealt a blow after he was left out of Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala.
Despite taking part in a training camp with his country in January, the 24-year-old has been overlooked by the German for the two-legged clash, the first of which will take place in Guatemala City on Friday.
Recent arrival Kitchen, who made his full debut in Saturday’s disappointing 3-0 loss to St Johnstone, had hoped that making the switch to Europe would enhance his international aspirations.
Speaking recently, the former DC United defensive midfielder admitted that he is keen to play his way into Klinsmann’s plans for Copa America.
He said: “That’s ideal, for sure. But controlling what I have here is the most important thing right now.
“If that leads to greater things then perfect but then it’s up to Jurgen and his staff.”
Klinsmann, who encouraged Kitchen to make the switch to Tynecastle, admits the 26-man squad are in pole position to claim a place for June’s tournament.
Speaking to ussoccer.com, Klinsmann said: “I think that it’s hugely important for everyone coming into these Guatemala games to understand this is the last time we meet before Copa America.
“This is now the time where you have to show how good you are in terms of you want to make a statement to be in the roster for Copa America. So this is big.
“The reason why we brought in a little bit of a bigger roster is because of the fact that it is the last time before we decide on the roster for the Copa America.”