New York Red Bulls midfielder Caden Clark believes he's ready for Europe as his move to RB Leipzig draws ever closer.
The 18-year-old put pen to paper on a deal with the Bundesliga side, remaining on loan with the Red Bulls until the end of the 2021 campaign.
That loan stay has been extended thanks to the Red Bulls rallying to make the MLS Cup Playoffs. Clark himself has come up with some big moments to help his side climb into the top seven but, on the whole, he's often struggled to hold down a regular spot in the starting XI.
Still, the teenager has revealed there are no plans for him to return to New York for another loan next year and that he's confident he can raise his level to the Bundesliga if required.
“As of right now, the plan is to go straight to Leipzig after the season,” Clark told MLSsoccer.com. “But we’ll regroup at the end of the season and discuss, see what’s best for me to develop. Obviously, you need game time at 18 years old.”
He added: “You rise to the occasion. If I was put into a Bundesliga game, I think my level would go up. That’s how it works. If I was put in a situation, I’d adjust and do my best for the team. I’d say I’m ready for the challenge.”
For now, Clark's focus remains solely on taking the Red Bulls as far as possible in the Playoffs. Gerhard Struber's men may have been a late addition to the post season field, but their strong defense and intense pressing style will make them a challenge for any side in MLS.
“We’re not comfortable. We’re a dark horse team in these playoffs that can go far," Clark said of New York's chances, adding: “You look at how we play, we’re just an energized team who can beat any team on any day. If we have a good game, I strongly believe we can win just based on who we are and how we play.
“Not only me, this team we score a lot of goals out of nowhere. We might not have momentum or the ball, but we can score a goal almost randomly. For me, it was weird at first, I was used to needing momentum to score. It’s a strength of ours. That’s just who we are.”
The Red Bulls' Playoff run starts with a Round One trip to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday at 2:30pm (ET).