Commerce City, CO

Tottenham midfielder Clint Dempsey has been named U.S. captain for the World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico.

"It's an honor," Dempsey said. "You gotta go out and represent your country, you have more pressure on your shoulders and you gotta step up to the task."

With normal captain Carlos Bocanegra off the roster due to lack of playing time with Racing Santander, Tim Howard injured and Landon Donovan on sabbatical, there was a question as to who would wear the armband.

Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones were considered options, but Klinsmann has opted for Dempsey, who has worn the armband for the USA once - during the second half of a 0-0 draw against Colombia in October 2010.

"Clint is one of our most experienced players and ready to assume a more vocal leadership role," head coach Jurgen Klinsmann told the U.S. Soccer website. "He has been huge for us in World Cup Qualifying so far and is already one of our key leaders. We know he will do a great job for these two important games."

Dempsey said his injured calf has improved and that he's "at least 45 minutes fit" for the match against Costa Rica.

He came off the bench and played the final 45 minutes of Tottenham's 1-0 loss to Fulham.

Dempsey has 92 career caps, and leads all U.S. scorers with six goals in this World Cup Qualifying cycle.