The usual line on Clint Dempsey is that he’s underappreciated in his home country – that, in the United States, it’s Landon Donovan, not Dempsey, who symbolizes a sport many Americans don’t take very seriously. There’s certainly something to that. Donovan’s on-and-off relationship with reality TV star Bianca Kajlich cemented his place in the wider world of American pop culture; Dempsey is an “avid fisherman.” Donovan feuded with David Beckham, then made up with him, then won a couple of trophies; during his last year at Fulham, Dempsey meshed well with Belgian midfielder Moussa Dembele.
In England, it’s another story entirely. Dempsey, regarded as one of the Premier League’s most dangerous attackers, regularly scores goals for Tottenham Hotspur. By contrast, Donovan’s forays into European football have rarely convinced – he performed well during his first loan spell at Everton, but Major League Soccer’s ridiculous transfer rules precluded a permanent move, and Tim Howard is way more fun.