Arsenal midfielder has started his loan spell at Rangers impressively, but the Scottish club may miss him for a number of games in the near future as he impresses on the international stage.
In the summer Zelalem was a prominent member for the USA u20 side that played at the World Cup and is now being lined up for a place in the u23 squad for next summer’s Olympics. He won’t play against England u21 this week as Rangers require him, but the Scottish Championship side will release him to play against Qatar on 8th September.
“Gedion is an incredible talent,” said USA coach Tab Ramos, who worked closely with him during the summer. “I think getting the playing time he needs, he will develop into the type of impact player that we hope he will be.
“I think going to a big club that’s normally under pressure to succeed will be a good experience for him.
“He’s certainly someone we wanted to have involved with our program, someone that Jürgen [Klinsmann] has already spoken about, so I knew it would be a good introduction for him to play in the under-20 World Cup.”
Next month the USA have a qualifying tournament, in America, to ensure they are present at the Olympic Games in Brazil next summer. As a player who is wanted as a key member of the squad, he’ll be required for the qualifiers which run from 1st-13th October, meaning he’d miss at least two Rangers games.
The midfielder had previously represented Germany at youth levels, but Ramos explained it wasn’t too difficult to convince FIFA to allow the switch for a player that is likely to be essential to the US national team in the near future.
“We had to work hard in our dealings with FIFA but given that he grew up and went to school in the States before joining Arsenal in 2013 they realised that we were no trying to get around the rules on residency.
“We left open a slot for him in the squad hoping that we could work things out and we’re all very excited about Gedion’s future with the US national team.”
It’s exciting for Arsenal fans that such a huge talent is now making waves at a professional level and an international one. Hopefully the successful start to his time in Rangers is a sign of things to come.