Brad Guzan believes he will only have a chance of starting for America at the World Cup if he can oust Brad Friedel as Aston's Villa's first choice.
The promising goalkeeper is currently understudy to compatriot Friedel at Villa Park, while on international duty he plays second fiddle to Everton's Tim Howard.
However, whenever called upon at club level he has impressed and gave Martin O'Neill something to think about on Tuesday night as he put in a fine performance as Villa knocked Sunderland out of the Carling Cup on penalties.
Guzan saved four penalties on the night, including one from Kenwyne Jones in normal time, and is now looking to build on a headline grabbing display.
"To be part of a World Cup is massive," said Guzan. "Do I need to get the Villa jersey off Brad Friedel to replace Tim Howard? I think that would help.
"Every player wants to go to a World Cup. It's in the back of my mind. It's one of those situations where you want to be playing week in and week out to be as sharp as possible.
"But games like at Sunderland maybe make the national team manager think 'when he does get games he is still sharp and contributing to the team'."
Guzan is relishing the battle to dislodge Howard, who will be in action for his club against Villa in Saturday's Premier League clash.
He said: "I work with Tim all the time with the national team. It is always exciting whenever us Americans play against each other but, as soon as that whistle blows, it will be down to business."
Guzan, 25, also admits he can only benefit from working alongside Friedel on a regular basis.
The former Chivas USA player said: "Brad has been doing the business for so many years and I don't have to look far for someone to model myself on.
"It's great to be able to work with him daily and I can only benefit."