The fullback’s new role has him scoring goals as he joins up with the national team for a pair of friendlies
Sergino Dest says he is still trying to learn as much as he can from Lionel Messi as he adjusts to a new system at Barcelona that allows him to take more risks.
Before heading to U.S. men’s national team camp for friendlies against Jamaica and Northern Ireland, Dest scored two goals in Barcelona’s 6-1 win over Real Sociedad.
Those goals were Dest’s first two La Liga finishes, making him the highest-scoring American in Spain’s top flight, one ahead of USMNT teammate Yunus Musah.
What did Dest have to say?
“I feel like I’ve developed a lot in Barcelona,” Dest told reporters on Thursday. “This system we’re playing right now, that’s something that fits me really well. I’m playing with the best of the game (Messi). Every training, you look at him and see what he does, it’s unbelievable. I try to take a couple of things from him, of course, but it’s really hard.
“I feel like I’m learning from all the players. It’s really good for my development. I’m at the right place to get my full potential.
The new system
Barca boss Ronald Koeman has been playing Dest as a wingback in recent matches, with Barca having switched to a new system that drops Frenkie de Jong deeper into a centerback position.
With that switch, the attack-oriented Dest is free to bomb down the right side with fewer defensive responsibilities.
The attacking side of the game remains Dest’s strength, and he’s glad to be in a position where he can show that off more with Koeman’s recent shift in tactics.
“This system fits the whole team as well, especially me,” Dest said. “It’s a little bit better because I have someone behind me and I like to take some risks into my game.
“If I take risks in the game, I’m at my best, taking actions where I can go while attacking. Of course, it can go wrong, but now I have someone behind me, so that’s really good for me!”