FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Timothy Chandler debuted with the U.S. Men’s National Team just three days shy of his 21st birthday.
While both events were certainly milestones in the young defender's life and career, it took some time for him to mature and grow within the USMNT's system. Now, though, US manager Jurgen Klinsmann feels that he is fitting in just fine, while still keeping the drawstrings loose enough for him to gain more valuable knowledge about the international stage.
“With him maybe the learning curve came a little later,” Klinsmann said. “Some have it with 20 (years old), 21, 22, like John Brooks and Ventura [Alvarado] or DeAndre [Yedlin]. With him it took a little bit longer. He’s a funny character.”
After taking a break from international duties during much of 2012, Chandler, who has dual citizenship in both the United States and Germany, rejoined Klinsmann and became cap-tied to the U.S. in 2013. It was after this time that Klinsmann saw that the commitment was there, and as the defender engrossed himself within the group, he gained in confidence and he gained the trust of his teammates.
“Everyone that’s in that situation, it’s very different,” said Klinsmann. “Since he’s been part of the team more regularly and more consistently, you saw him grow. You saw him also growing within the group and there’s a specific hierarchy within the group as well. You see the players how they look at him and how they respect him. He’s really building his position right now.”
After not starting during the World Cup in Brazil last summer, Chandler has seen loads of time in Klinsmann’s lineup and even collected his first international goal against Guatemala on July 3rd in the leadup to the Gold Cup.
His Gold Cup debut against Honduras was not as eventful. He was subbed out in the 63rd minute after a tough night on both sides of the ball.
It’s all part of the process according to Klinsmann who will continue to try and work him into the offensive aspect of the gameplan despite the shaky results on Tuesday with the knowledge that the best is yet to come from Chandler.
“Does he still makes mistakes? Absolutely,” Klinsmann said. “All of them do. We’re working on that. He’s playing his role a bit differently in his club in Frankfurt than he does with us. We want him to go in there a bit more. When the defender goes a little bit more, it’s a little bit more risk, so that risk also could be that you make some mistakes, you give the ball away in that position when you shouldn’t give the ball away, and you might get caught.
"But I like to take that risk at certain moments because I want them to understand later on, when they’re fully matured, that now you know exactly when to go and when not to go. When one side goes the other one stays. He’s not shy to open his mouth within the group and say his opinion. I think you will see a lot of positives in the future from Timmy Chandler.”