“When they call me up for the national team, I’m there,” Chandler told Jonathan Tannenwald of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I miss it. I see all the players go to their national teams, and I want to fly to the States and play for my country. But the coach decides who plays, and I just wait for him to call me.”
Chandler has made 28 appearances with the USMNT, but hasn’t been called up since 2016. As observed by Tannenwald, he hasn’t received a call-up “since [Jurgen] Klinsmann’s dismissal.”
Should Chandler make a return? According to Bundesliga.com, “there isn’t a better American full-back in the world game right now” and he “has proved more than able to cut it all over the pitch.” It’s not a completely outlandish claim, although some may claim DeAndre Yedlin, Fabian Johnson (when he plays the position), or Antonee Robinson are better than Chandler when suiting up for the national team.
Unfortunately for the Frankfurt native, he’ll be 32 when the 2022 World Cup kicks off, putting him in the same hinterland as many “lost generation” players currently in their prime years. Age puts Chandler at a disadvantage for a call-up, considering the fullback position at the international level requires a certain athleticism and endurance that tends to decline with age. Additionally, he has been an outsider for several years and that likely won’t be changing soon considering U.S. Soccer’s increased focus on integrating youth.
If Chandler is going to earn his way back into the national team, then he needs to perform at a superlative level for his club in the Bundesliga and the Europa League. He made 24 league appearances last season, scoring two goals and assisting on four; however, he wasn’t included in the squad for Eintracht’s 3-1 DFB-Pokal final victory over Bayern Munich. Is this the resume of a player who demands inclusion? That’s a decision for Dave Sarachan or his potential replacement.