By TYLER GRAY
It’s been a while since Eric Lichaj has been called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team. Injuries, starting a family, and poor club form have all contributed to his long absence. He’s been in the same boat as Timothy Chandler, outcast since the 2011 Gold Cup when Bob Bradley was still at the helm.
The exile is officially over.
“I got the call on Friday after training from the manager and he just said he wanted me to come in,” Lichaj told ussoccer.com. “I told him I was really excited because I was. Last time I had a thigh injury, plus I was having my first child. It’s been a year now since that happened. Time’s passed, and I’m looking forward to this camp.”
This will be Lichaj’s first camp with the national team since Jurgen Klinsmann became head coach. The fullback position has been something of a revolving door for Klinsmann, with Brad Evans and DaMarcus Beasley spending the most time at the spot. Edgar Castillo and Fabian Johnson have made cameos as well.
The 24-year-old defender has seen regular action for Nottingham Forest in English football’s second division this season and it seems like now the time is right. Lichaj knows that every player is hoping for a spot in Brazil and he is eager to throw his hat in the ring.
“For the team, every player is trying to impress to get to the World Cup obviously,” Lichaj said. “For me personally, I’m just trying to do what I do best. Hopefully, that will be enough for the manager to bring me in for the next camp. So, I’ll just keep working hard towards that.”
The national team will be playing friendlies on Nov. 15 and 19 against Scotland and Austria respectively. It will be an opportunity for Lichaj to showcase himself against top competition.
“These are two good games in Europe,” Lichaj said. “We always talked about playing these kinds of games in Europe on these kinds of nights where everybody is tested at the highest level. We need to use these opportunities to see where we’re at individually, where we’re at as a team, and where we can improve now in the last few months before the World Cup.”