Nottingham Forest defender Eric Lichaj relaxed over US national team exile

Forest City Ground

The 27-year-old full-back has not been called up to the US squad by Jurgen Klinsmann since November 2013.

Nottingham Forest full-back Eric Lichaj has insisted to American Soccer Now that he does not feel bitter about his continuing absence from the US national team.

Lichaj, 27, has earned just 10 caps for the USA since making his senior international debut in October 2010, with only two of them coming since Jurgen Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley as head coach in July 2011.

His one and only call-up under Klinsmann was in November 2013 after a two-year absence from the setup, when he featured in friendlies against Scotland and Austria, before a run of injuries prevented the former Aston Villa man from contending for a place in the 2014 World Cup squad.

In the meantime, the US have struggled to find reliable options at either full-back spot, and with Lichaj being one of an increasingly small number of Americans playing regularly in a reputable European league, fans and the media alike have continued to express their bewilderment at his ongoing exclusion.

Sporting Kansas City and ex-Derby County midfielder Benny Feilhaber even mentioned Lichaj as one of several “outcasts” deserving of a call-up in a recent outburst about his own lack of international recognition, telling the likes of MLSoccer.com last month: “So it's not just me…. An Eric Lichaj, for example, he's been playing well in Europe for countless years, and he hasn't been really given any opportunity either.

“So there's guys in MLS, there's guys in Europe who don't get opportunities with Jurgen for whatever reason.”

Nevertheless, Lichaj has dismissed the idea of unfair treatment and insists he would rather focus on Forest’s promotion push at the moment than fret about whether a call from Klinsmann is coming in the near future.

“I don't think I've been overlooked,” Lichaj told ASN. “They've watched a few games and nothing has come of it. Maybe they didn't like what've they've seen or I didn't fit into the style that they wanted to play. I would love to play for them again and I've always enjoyed it. I can't put too much focus on it because if I was really desperate for that, it might take away from what I am doing here at Nottingham.

“I am doing well and if I keep improving hopefully I get recalled to see if the U.S. manager wants me. At the moment he doesn't so I can't complain, I just have to keep improving to see if I can get back in there.”

2015-16 Championship PositionTeamGoalsAssistsKey PassesPassing AccuracyTotal CrossesCrossing AccuracyTotal TacklesTotal ClearancesAppearancesMins Played
Eric Lichaj DF Forest 1 2 26 72% 39 28% 86 82 28 2,520

Lichaj, who was born in Downers Groves, Illinois to Polish parents, first moved to England in 2007 to join Villa and went on to feature 42 times for the club between 2010 and 2013, scoring two goals in the process.

The former University of North Carolina product was eventually released by the claret and blues at the end of the 2012-13 campaign but soon linked up with Forest, where he has since established himself as a regular starter with 102 total appearances under his belt.

Seeing most of his minutes at right-back, the Chicago native has started all but two games for Dougie Freedman’s side in the Championship this season and set up Nelson Oliveira’s 60th-minute winner in Saturday's 1-0 victory at Leeds United to extend the team’s unbeaten league run to 13 matches.

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