Celta’s Luca de la Torre ‘ready to play more’ with USMNT

Luca de la Torre has told ESPN he’s “ready to play more” for the United States men’s national team ahead of the Concacaf Nations League finals and this summer’s Copa América.

Midfielder de la Torre, 25, has impressed for Celta Vigo this season — making 29 appearances in all competitions and registering three goals and five assists — and is set to feature as Celta visit Real Madrid in LaLiga on Sunday.

Stream LIVE: Real Madrid vs. Celta Vigo, Sunday 7 a.m. ET, ESPN+

Despite competition for places in the USMNT midfield, De la Torre has played four times for his country this season, starting against Uzbekistan in September and in November’s 2-1 Nations League defeat to Trinidad and Tobago.

“I think it’s been a lot of growth,” De la Torre said in an interview that will air on Fútbol Americas Thursday, when asked to describe his progress since being an unused member of the squad at the 2022 Qatar World Cup. “At that time I’d just signed for Celta, I wasn’t playing.

“Now I have a season-and-a-half in LaLiga under my belt, and also a lot more games with the national team. I just feel more comfortable at this level and I’m ready to play more.”

The USMNT will face Jamaica in the Nations League semifinals in Arlington, Texas, on March 21, before a potential final three days later.

De la Torre hasn’t always been a fixture in the team under Gregg Berhalter, but the midfielder praised the coach, who returned to the job in June 2023.

“The relationship is good,” De la Torre added. “I think what I like about Gregg is that he’s a coach who players can be honest with, and he doesn’t seem to hold it against them.

“As far as my position in the team, we have to see. I’m doing everything I can with my club to show that I deserve to be there, and then when I’m there it’s just about taking opportunities, and whatever minutes I get, doing really well so that I get more chances.”

Celta appointed a high-profile manager in Rafa Benitez last summer but have struggled in LaLiga this season and are currently in 17th place, five points above the relegation zone.

“Obviously [Benitez] is a coach who’s won everything,” De la Torre said. “That was new for me, working with such a big name. He’s someone who’s really focused on the details.

“[Goals and assists] are something I wanted to add a little bit more [to my game]. It was more of a tactical adjustment, arriving at the box in good positions, and knowing that if I arrive in the box five times a game, maybe I’ll get the ball once and then it has to be a goal.”