At long last, Djordje Mihailovic's stunning club form has been rewarded with a recall to the United States Men's National Team and the midfielder is ready to take full advantage.
The last of Mihailovic's six senior caps came in the form of a 16-minute cameo in a friendly against El Salvador back in December 2020.
But since then, the 23-year-old has been in electric club form following a move to CF Montreal. In 51 appearances for the Canadian club across all competitions, Mihailovic has notched 11 goals and 18 assists - including seven goals and four assists in 16 games this season.
With his performances even attracting links to a European transfer, calls for Mihailovic to get a USMNT recall have been growing. Gregg Berhalter named the midfielder to his roster for Nations League and friendly matches in June, and Mihailovic is fully aware of just how big a moment this is in his career.
“My last game with the national team was I think 2020, so it’s been a couple of years,” he told reporters. “It’s almost like when I was younger, I didn't really know what it was worth to wear the colors of your country. And when it’s been a long time, it’s a dream again and it’s an honor. I’m grateful for this opportunity again.”
There's absolutely no doubting the move to Montreal has been transformative for Mihailovic, who has refined his game to become ruthless in the final third.
“Coming here [to Montréal] was the best thing for my career,” he declared. “I’m not going to look back and have any regrets, because I’m putting all my effort and energy into making the most out of this opportunity.”
The USMNT are deep in midfield, with the likes of Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, Brenden Aaronson, and Tyler Adams among their biggest stars. What's more, Mihailovic has been at his best playing as a No.10 in a 3-4-2-1 system under Wilfried Nancy at Montreal.
His current role isn't one often utilized by Berhalter and it remains to be seen whether or not Mihailovic can adjust his game to fit the head coach's needs.
“I know that the best way to get back with the national team is to play well, so that’s all I have to focus on – is to keep playing well, to keep doing what they’re asking of me and also what the coach here is asking of me as well,” he said. “That’s going to be my best chance to make it in the World Cup team.”
Mihailovic is back in action for CF Montreal at home to Real Salt Lake on Sunday.