Yedlin shakes off injury scare to return to USMNT as one of its leaders

Comments
The Newcastle fullback steps into the U.S. squad as the defenses most experienced player heading into matches against Brazil and Mexico

DeAndre Yedlin is in the midst of a run of defensive assignments that might leave some other defenders hiding in fear. The Newcastle fullback is fresh off having to battle Raheem Sterling and a week before that he was taking on Eden Hazard. On Friday, there's a very good chance he will be seeing a lot of Neymar when Yedlin's U.S. national team takes on Brazil.

That list of assignments is as daunting as you'll find in the world's game, but it's a safe bet Yedlin is loving the opportunity, especially considering it was just a few weeks ago where he thought he might miss it all.

Flashback to August 11, with the final minute ticking away in Newcastle United's eventual 2-1 loss to Tottenham. Yedlin kicked away a ball in a one-on-one challenge and landed jarringly on his right leg, forcing it to bend the wrong way and sending him crumpling to the ground in pain. The replay of the incident, along with the agony he was enduring, suggested the U.S. midfielder had suffered a serious injury.

“As soon as it happened, I thought it’s going to be bad. The doc actually came in after and said ‘I’m just going to be quite blunt with you, just based on the video it looked pretty bad’. I hadn’t seen the video then.

“I was just hoping that it wasn’t swollen in the morning," Yedlin said. "Luckily when I woke up, it really wasn’t swollen at all. I went to get an MRI and got the results back and it showed that there was literally nothing. I’m not really sure what happened, but I’m thankful for whatever helped save it and hopefully nothing like that happens again, knock on wood.”

Yedlin wound up missing just one match, returning in time to face Chelsea and Manchester City. The Chelsea match saw him score an own goal that handed Chelsea the winning goal, while he scored his first Premier League goal a week later in a loss to Manchester City.

“It’s kind of a relief," Yedlin said of finally opening his Premier League scoring account after four years. "I was going on a lot of games without a goal there so it was kind of a relief. First things first, the result is the most important thing so I wish we could have got a better result.”

Yedlin has arrived at U.S. national team camp healthy and confident, and eager to jump into a new World Cup qualifying cycle. Friday's friendly against Brazil is serving as the unofficial kicking off of the 2022 World Cup cycle, and Yedlin is ready to make some new memories to help cover up some bad ones experienced in the past year.

DeAndre Yedlin Newcastle Manchester City 09012018

"It’s great. Obviously we want to put the past behind us," Yedlin said. "We obviously all know what happened. It’s kind of a clean slate, fresh start, so I’m excited for that."

Yedlin is also as one of the U.S. team's veterans. Though he's only 25, he has played in a World Cup and registered a team-high 52 national team appearances. He is no longer the precocious 20-year-old who was one of the youngest members of the 2014 World Cup team. He is now the seasoned vet showing the next wave of youngsters the ropes.

Article continues below

“When you’re the younger guy, you’re kind of only looking after yourself," Yedlin said. "Obviously you have to be a bit selfish in terms of what you’re doing. But when you’re the older guy you have to look out for the younger guys as well. If they’re making mistakes, they need help, then you help them."

Yedlin will be looking to lead the Americans into a tough set of tests against Brazil and Mexico, the first two in a series of difficult opponents that will close out the year. The U.S. will face Colombia and Peru in October, then England and Italy in November. Yedlin has faced those kind of opponents before, and he knows how important those opportunities are for young players adapting to playing on the international level.

“I think it’s good that these kind of games can kind of get out early in their careers," Yedlin said. "Because - obviously when you get to the World Cup it’s a different stage - but after that really any team you play isn’t, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s this team or this team'. We’re playing obviously some very big teams this year and I think it will be a great test for us.”

Next article:
Ronaldo mentally stronger than others, says Allegri
Next article:
MLS Review: Ibrahimovic scores as Galaxy end seven-game skid, Dallas reclaim top spot in west
Next article:
Pogba: Struggling Sanchez will deliver at Man United
Next article:
ISL 2018-19: Cesar Ferrando –The best Indian players are in Jamshedpur FC
Next article:
ISL 2018-19: ATK squad analysis - Former champions aim to revive fortunes
Close