U.S. men's national team goalkeeper Zack Steffen has said he has no plans to return to Manchester City when his loan with Middlesbrough ends this summer.
Steffen, 27, first signed with City in 2019 but made just 21 appearances and only two outings in the Premier League before joining the Championship side on a season-long loan last summer.
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He has made 34 appearances in England's second tier this season, helping Middlesbrough to third place with eight games of the season remaining.
"I don't think I'll go back," Steffen told The Philadelphia Inquirer this week. "No, I want to be playing. Although I had a great time at City and I love those guys, and obviously [it's] an amazing club, I don't really have any plans to go back."
Amid his lack of playing time at the Etihad Stadium and some high-profile errors, Steffen was left out of the USMNT's squad for the 2022 World Cup. Despite the Pennsylvania native starting six games in qualifying and beginning the campaign as the team's first-choice goalkeeper, then-coach Gregg Berhalter opted to pick Matt Turner, Sean Johnson and Ethan Horvath for the tournament in Qatar.
"The keepers -- Matt, Sean and Ethan -- I mean, they were consistent and they were with the team throughout the whole cycle and Gregg just decided to go with them," Steffen said.
"It was tough. God tested me. It definitely wasn't easy, as you can imagine -- just surprising and, yeah, just not what I expected. And it wasn't part of my plan, but I know that God ultimately has a greater plan and path for me."
Berhalter's contract expired at the end of 2022 and the U.S. Soccer Federation is in the process of selecting a coach to lead the team forward to the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted by the U.S., along with Canada and Mexico.
Though Berhalter remains a candidate to return to the role, the USMNT is currently under the charge of interim coach Anthony Hudson. Hudson named Steffen as one of three goalkeepers -- along with Turner and Horvath for the U.S.' CONCACAF Nations League games at Grenada on Friday and at home to El Salvador on Monday.
"It doesn't really feel like a starting-over point because of what we all built: the culture, and the brotherhood, and the playing style, and the work ethic and beliefs and standards that we've all created," Steffen said.
"I think being a coach, you need to know your players. And you need to be able to relate to them and be able to humanize with them, and be able to listen to them, and know how to push them, and how they work and vice versa. I think [Hudson] is definitely that type of guy."