Ajax midfielder and United States national player Sergino Dest said he was surprised by the reaction to his decision to leave the Dutch club's winter training camp in Qatar last week. amidst regional political tensions between the United States and Iran.
Dest was in Doha with Ajax, but asked to return to the Netherlands early on January 9, five days after the American team had canceled their own training camp in the Qatari capital.
An American military air strike in Baghdad on January 3 killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, prompting Iran to retaliate on January 7 by launching missiles at an Iraqi military base that housed American troops. No deaths were reported during this attack.
The US team was scheduled to travel to Doha and begin its two-week training camp the day after the air strike on Soleimani. Although no threats have been reported against the team or the players, the American Football Federation has taken the prudent decision to move the camp.
Speaking to FOX Sports Netherlands on Monday, Dest said he did not expect his decision to be "a headline".
"I didn't feel comfortable there and I talked about it with the staff and they understood and let me go home," said Dest. "As I said, it shocked me to continue to become such a big thing. "
Ajax manager Erik ten Hag said Dest had felt uncomfortable in Doha and the club had brought him home early. Ajax director Edwin van der Sar added that the situation had been much worse than it was, and the player agreed.
Dest added that he felt the club had supported him and his family, saying, "They really helped me. And now I'm focusing on football again. "
Dest declared for the USMNT in October after refusing the approaches from the Netherlands. He has three caps for the US national team, as well as 14 appearances for Ajax this season.
The American Football Federation hopes that another trip to Qatar, host country of the 2022 World Cup, can be arranged later.
This article appeared first (in English) on http://espn.com/soccer/united-states-usa/story/4032835/usmnts-sergino-dest-surprised-over-reaction-for-early-exit-from-ajaxs-qatar-camp