Sargent riding Norwich confidence to stake claim to USMNT’s No. 9 shirt

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Josh Sargent riding Norwich City wave of goals and confidence to stake claim to USMNT’s No. 9 shirt

COLOGNE, Germany — Among a striker’s more prized attributes is a sense of timing. A forward needs to know when to make runs to try to shake off a defender and arrive at the best moment to have a shot at goal.

Since the start of the season in the English Championship, United States international and Norwich City forward Josh Sargent has taken that trait to a different level. Not only is he scoring goals at a regular clip — tallying six times in 10 league encounters — but with just a little less than two months to go until the Americans’ World Cup campaign begins, his run has put him peaking at the perfect time to make manager Gregg Berhalter’s final roster and perhaps log heavy minutes in Qatar.

“I haven’t really had a season like this,” Sargent said during a roundtable with reporters on Wednesday. “I would say in terms of getting a lot of scoring chances, getting minutes at striker like I have, this season so far, yeah, confidence is at an all-time high at the moment. I’m just trying to keep that momentum going as long as possible, keep scoring goals.”

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It has been little more than a year since Sargent last suited up for the U.S., that being the 4-1 World Cup qualifying win over Honduras in which he was subbed at halftime, and thus played no part in the second-half comeback that was critical to the U.S. team’s qualification effort. His form at club level was no better. As Norwich slogged through a season that ended in relegation, Sargent was cast oftentimes as a winger, which took him well out of his comfort zone despite having occasionally played the position at previous club Werder Bremen, and he struggled to contribute offensively. A pair of injuries at the end of the season meant the campaign finished on an even more disappointing note.

“I would just say it was a frustrating time,” he said. But the U.S. forward doesn’t begrudge the time he spent out wide, even as he admitted it didn’t play to his strengths.

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