Julian Green has played just three times for the U.S. national team since scoring a memorable goal against Belgium in the second round of the 2014 World Cup, but the 21-year-old still believes he can become a fixture with the American squad in the coming years, the Bayern Munich attacker told ESPN.
The Florida-born, Germany-raised Green, is back in the U.S. for the International Champions Cup, which kicks off for the Bundesliga champions on Wednesday against AC Milan in Chicago (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) and the tour will also include stops in Charlotte and East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Green, who has yet to make a league appearance for Bayern but has appeared in two Champions League games and several friendlies, has featured regularly for Bayern during this preseason, the first under former Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti. He even started and scored the in the club's 4-3 friendly win against Lippstadt.
"It's always nice to play, whether it's a friendly or preseason, and I want to show him on the pitch that it's the right decision," Green said in a phone interview.
"He's a great coach -- I can see this in every training session. He has so much experience with top players and top teams. We haven't talked so much yet, but that's normal. It's been fun every day to work with him. It's a big honor for me."
Despite the early action, the cold hard reality is that minutes are hard to come by at a renowned club like Bayern. Green, who grew up outside Munich and signed with the club at 14, understands this better than most.
"I will give my best and the rest is out of my hands," he added. "But I also know that it's not like you can't make it if you're good enough. I go into training with this idea in my head that everything is possible."
So far so good. In Chicago, Ancelotti told reporters that Green "will be important for us in the season."
After making just five Bundesliga appearances during an unsuccessful loan to hapless Hamburg in the 2014-15 season, Green returned to Bayern and spent most of last season with the reserve team, for which he scored 10 goals in 24 games. The experience was a humbling one.
"I went to Hamburg, which everybody knows was not so good and not what anybody expected," Green said. "But I learned from it. I learned how football can be. Nothing about it was negative for me."
His decision to return to the German fourth-tier with Bayern II rather than seek first team play elsewhere was harshly criticized at the time. But Green insisted that he's reaping the rewards now.
"It was the best decision because I came from Hamburg and hadn't played so much," he said. "I trained with Bayern's first team played some games, and then played in every game for the second team. It was for me very important that I play some matches and also score some goals. That how it happened."
Green still faces ridiculously stiff competition for first team action, even with starting left wing Arjen Robben sidelined for more than a month with a groin injury. That makes things tricky. Green is in the last year of his contract, and the odds are against another loan unless he inks and extension.
"I can't say what will happen in three or five months, but right now, I'm a player for Bayern," he said. "My goal always was and always will be to play for Bayern's first team."
His other goal is to get back with the U.S., having not featured at all for Jurgen Klinsmann's team in 2015. He didn't even play for the U.S. U-23s in March's two-match, Olympic qualifying loss to Colombia, although illness ruled him out for the decisive second leg. He last appeared for the senior side in May in a pre-Copa America friendly against Puerto Rico.
"I want to be back with the national team as soon as possible, but I have to play. That's it," Green said. "I will be back. I'm really confident about that. I'm really confident about myself. Of course, in the end, the decision is the coach's," he added. "But I think if I work hard and do my best I'll be back soon. That's what I work for every day."