American goalkeeper Zack Steffen was loaned from Manchester City to second-tier Middlesbrough for the 2022-23 season on Tuesday, a move he hopes will help him compete to start at the World Cup.
“Everyone knows his situation. He needed to play because of the World Cup,” Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder said. “He had an agreement with Man City, but he could have easily stayed there and sat comfortably as their No. 2. He wanted to go out and he’s agreed to come here. I think it’s a big coup for us.”
Steffen, a 27-year-old from Coatesville, Pennsylvania, has been Ederson’s backup at City since the start of the 2020-21 season after spending 2019-20 on loan to Fortuna Düsseldorf. He signed with City from Major League Soccer’s Columbus in July 2019.
Steffen played in just nine matches last season — one Premier League game along with four in the FA Cup, two League Cup, one Champions League and the Community Shield.
He agreed in November to a contract with City that runs until 2025.
“We knew we had to improve the goalkeeping department,” Wilder said. “We brought in Liam Roberts and now we’re adding Zack, who has just signed a 4 1/2-year deal with Man City. Man City don’t hand out 4 1/2-year contracts if they don’t think anything of them.”
Steffen is competing with Matt Turner and Ethan Horvath to start at the World Cup, where the U.S. plays Wales, England and Iran in the group stage this November. Steffen started six of 14 qualifiers and Turner started eight.
Turner, 28, left Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution to join Arsenal this month, and he figures to be a backup to Aaron Ramsdale.
Horvath, 26, was loaned from Nottingham Forest to second-tier Luton Town this month, also in a search of playing time, He made just 11 appearances last season, two in the FA Cup, two in the League Cup, six league starts, and then replaced an injured Brice Samba in the final minutes of the promotion playoff final in May, when Forest returned to the Premier League for 2022-23.
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