Copa call set to rule Kitchen out of Hearts’ Euro opener

Perry Kitchen is in the USA squad
Perry Kitchen is in the USA squad
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HEARTS midfielder Perry Kitchen could miss the start of his club’s European campaign after being named in the USA’s final squad for the Copa America.

The 24-year-old made the cut after national coach Jurgen Klinsmann reduced his initial 40-man pool to 23 for the tournament, which runs from June 3 to 26.

The Europa League’s first qualifying round begins on June 30, meaning it is extremely doubtful Kitchen will be available, particularly if the USA reach the Copa America’s latter stages. The competition is being held in the United States this year to mark its 100th anniversary. Hearts have offered their full support to Kitchen’s international aspirations.

Klinsmann explained that the Tynecastle player has earned his place in the squad after impressing him over the last 12 months. “This roster really was put together based on what we saw over the last year, and it’s one that makes us the strongest team possible to compete in Copa America and to hopefully surprise a lot of people,” said Klinsmann.

“We feel that these 23 going into the very special Copa America, they really deserved to be there. When you get down and you decide on the final 23-man roster, there are very close, tight decisions to make. The moment when you decide, it’s about definitely who you feel the strongest about.”