When substitute goalkeeper Brad Guzan entered the proceedings midway through Wednesday night’s encounter between the United States and England at Wembley, he had more than one incentive to put in a good performance betwen the posts.
For not only was the 23-year-old Chivas keeper out to perform to the best of his ability but he was no doubt keen to impress at least one of those making up the 71,000 crowd - Aston Villa goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh.
McDonagh was in the stands no doubt watching Guzan, who would by now be a Villa player had it not been for the refusal of a work permit in January because Guzan had not played in enough internationals.
Now, however, he has featured more regularly for his country and is close to the required 75per cent of international matches needed for the permit to be granted under US immigration law.
He has now issued a “come and get me” plea and has reiterated that he would love to join Martin O’Neill’s revolution as Villa strive to break through in the Intertoto Cup this summer.
Guzan said: “I would love to sign for Villa. When I was there as a triallist, it was an absolutely brilliant time. They have great people, great facilities and I could not say one bad thing about it.
“We are in the middle of the MLS season but I have instructed my agent to go and handle those discussions so that I can stay focused and keep playing.
“When I met Martin at the end of January, he was a fabulous guy, a great person. The entire staff were outstanding. It is about the whole way he carries himself as a manager.
“The first time I was there I spent 12 hours with the players in the locker room and being among good people who understand the game of football is important to me and that is what I want to be involved in.”
Guzan, who came on as a half-time subsitute for Tim Howard at Wembley with England 1-0 up, was unable to keep out Steven Gerrard’s goal as England extended their lead to 2-0 but did impress by denying Wayne Rooney a chance to score.
An MLS socurce said: “Guzan still does not yet qualify for a work permit but he is close to the 75 per cent he needs and I would think there would be every chance of his application being successful this time round.
“He has featured as a substitute in a number of games and the USA had an unbeaten record this year until Wembley so he is in good form.”
Martin O’Neill is expected to bring in two keepers this summer with the departure of Thomas Sorensen and a deal involving Liverpool’s Scott Carson looking doubtful.