Djordje Mihailovic urged to follow Brenden Aaronson path to boost USMNT chances

Chris Smith
Mihailovic is working his way back into USMNT contention.
Mihailovic is working his way back into USMNT contention. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After over a year of excellent MLS form, Djordje Mihailovic has finally returned to the United States Men's National Team fold.

Gregg Berhalter called up the midfielder - who has 12 goals and 18 assists in 52 appearances since joining CF Montreal last year - for next month's friendlies and Concacaf Nations League fixtures.

Mihailovic's inclusion on the roster has been incredibly popular among fans but if this is to prove a regular occurrence and not just a one-off, the 23-year-old must move to Europe and test himself on a regular basis, according to former USMNT striker Charlie Davies.

“The only way that Djordje Mihailovic will vault himself up this ladder is with a move to Europe,” he told the Extratime Podcast. “If there's ever a time to make that move, it would be now because he's playing with the utmost confidence. He is fit and he'd be getting a full preseason. You have to factor in all of those things. And then he would get an opportunity because whoever is paying for him is getting him in preseason and they're obviously trusting him to be the future, the answer.”

The last of Mihailovic's six senior caps came in a friendly against El Salvador back in December 2020. But since then, he's kicked on rapidly at club level, while also spending time training with Serie A side Bologna last summer.

Mihailovic has also been linked with a move to a number of European clubs in recent years. If the midfielder needed any extra proof of how a move across the pond can transform your national team prospects and career on the whole, he need look no further than Brenden Aaronson, who recently completed a big-money move to Leeds United.

“You need to go over to test yourself,” Davies added. “Guys that it's worked for – Brenden Aaronson, would he be on the national team if he didn't go over to Salzburg? The Austrian league is not better than Major League Soccer, everyone knows that. You're not going to Salzburg for the competition within the Austrian league. You're going to, one, put yourself in the European shop window but, two, you're playing against European competition in Champions League, in Europa League. That's why you go.”

With the World Cup in Qatar on the horizon, does Mihailovic have a realistic chance of making the roster? Davies thinks so, but still insists simply playing well for Montreal in MLS won't be enough.

“I do, realistically, think he has a chance, for sure,” he said. “But I think he needs to do a little bit more. What he's doing now, as great as he is in Montréal, that's not going to be enough.”