By DAN KARELL
It may have only felt like a few minutes to us, but Hannover defender Steve Cherundolo’s three minute cameo against last Sunday marked his return from injury for the first time since May.
The long-time U.S. Men’s National Team right back has been dogged by knee problems in the last 12 months, and has undergone surgery on his left knee three separate times in 2013. Thankfully, he says, the injury problems are all behind him.
With the knees everything is okay again,” Cherundolo told German publication BILD. “I’m 34-years old and have made over 500 official appearances, you always know your own body.”
Fans at the HDI-Arena in Hannover last Sunday gave their club captain a rousing ovation as he entered the field in the 87th minute of the Red’s 2-0 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt. It was a moment that Cherundolo is very thankful for, and with the positive result, has him hopeful for the club’s fortunes to turn around.
“It was a great feeling, I want to say thank you (to the fans),” Cherundolo said. “I thank the medical staff for the great job, I thank the coaching staff for their patience. I have thanks for my family, who built me up again and again. And thank you to the fans who have welcomed me so great on Sunday.”
The veteran defender now has his sights on making the USMNT World Cup squad, but it won’t be easy. Cherundolo admits that he’s behind others due to the injuries he’s suffered in the last year, and he faces an uphill climb to make it back into the team with only six months remaining before the opening match on June 12.
However, with the right back position hardly locked up, Cherundolo still has a chance to work his way back in if he can regain some consistency and form at the end of 2013 and into next spring.
“Of course, one is always a bit skeptical that you will not be there,” Cherundolo said. “I’ve only played three minutes this season. Health and fitness are the most important things and now I need match fitness. Jürgen and I were recently in contact in mid-November. He knows what I can do.”
Asked whether he’d like to be drawn with Germany in the World Cup, Cherundolo reportedly smiled and said, “Okay, as long as we both advance.”
What do you think of this report? Glad to see Cherundolo back healthy for Hannover? Think he has enough time to prove that he’s still the best USMNT right back? Do you still like Cherundolo’s chances of making it into the USMNT squad at the World Cup?
Share your thoughts below.