Bolton Wanderers center-back Tim Ream deserves more respect from Jurgen Klinsmann

Tim Ream gets no respect.

Overlooked for selection prior to the 2014 World Cup by USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Ream has been the backbone to Bolton Wanderers for the past two seasons.

In that time, Ream has not only made the center-back position at the club his own, but he has become Bolton’s most important player. Crowned Player of the Season for the second consecutive year by the club’s supporters, Ream has been an ironman for the Championship side, appearing 48 times in 2014/15 – with 46 of those appearances being starts.

So, to say Tim Ream gets no respect is a little misleading, as fans of Bolton Wanderers can see Ream’s value. It seems, however, the American center-back is only unloved by his home nation, or in particular, USA coach Klinsmann.

In late 2014, Bolton manager Neil Lennon “blasted” Klinsmann for his use of Ream after calling him up for a friendly against the Republic of Ireland. Ream played one minute of the USA’s 4-1 defeat in Dublin.

“There is a complete lack of respect for the player and a lack of respect for our club,” Lennon insisted at the time. “I am still waiting on an explanation from someone.”

Lennon must have still been waiting for that explanation as the Northern Irishman experienced deja vu in April of this year. The Bolton manager criticised the “treatment” Ream received on his most recent US national team call-up.

Despite spending 10 days training with the national team ahead of friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland, Ream was given a mere 60 seconds of action.

While there is a sizable list of US players plying their trade in Europe, few, if any, have had the impact and consistency of Ream. A strong tackler possessing spatial awareness and capable of playing in a three or four man defense; per game, Ream averaged 2.2 tackles, 2.4 interceptions and completed 77% of his passes in 2014/15.

He also contributed three assists during the season, and according to Whoscored.com, Ream received a meager four yellow cards over the course of 44 league games; showcasing a defensive game that is more about concentration than sheer force.

In Bolton’s season finale against Birmingham City, Ream was his typical no-nonsense self – three tackles, two inceptions and two clearances. The St. Louis, Missouri native also had the highest pass success rate of Bolton’s starting XI at 96.2%

With the Championship season now finished, Ream and Bolton can look back on a season that saw the club finish 18th, 10 points safe of relegation. Ream is under contract with the Wanderers until the end of the 2016/17 and will be looked upon by the club to help lead the promotion push next term.

It has been three-and-a-half years since Ream arrived from New York Red Bulls. But the defender isn’t planning on a move back to MLS yet. In February, Ream quashed any thoughts of a return stateside.

“I’m not really interested in going back yet,” he told ESPN. “I’m obviously enjoying my time here and playing well for Bolton. The team is picking up points, and I haven’t even given it a thought to come back yet.”

With the new Championship season about three months away, Ream may be selected for the USA’s squad at this July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup. The evidence is there to why he should be included. Yet, it’s up to Klinsmann whether or not it was good enough to anchor the team’s defense.

With the Gold Cup kicking off a month before the new Championship season, Klinsmann could finally put a smile on Neil Lennon’s face. However, that may only happen if Ream is played by the USA’s coach, and played wisely.

Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @Calciofarmer. Drew Farmer is a Manchester, England-based journalist/blogger that has written for ForzaItalianFootball.com and World Soccer Talk. Originally from southwest Missouri, Drew covers Italy’s Serie A, the English Premier League and the USA’s Major League Soccer.

 

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