Veljko Paunovic Getting National Team Attention From Macedonian Media

BRIDGEVIEW, IL -AUGUST 03: Veljko Paunovic #16 of the Philadelphia Union kicks the ball against the Chicago Fire during an MLS match on August 3, 2011 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Macedonian media has begun to pay attention to Veljko Paunovic's run of form for the Philadelphia Union, naming the midfielder as one of the country's potential internationals to watch.

Despite playing twice for Serbia - when it was still Serbia-Montenegro - in the early part of this millennium, Paunovic is able to make a one-time switch to Macedonia because of FIFA's eligibility rule change in 2009. Eliminating the stipulation that a player must be under-21 to make the one-time change has opened possibilities for many players throughout the world. Recently the United States Men's National Team (USMNT) was able to cap German midfielder Jermaine Jones, who played a pivotal role in the country's second place finish in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Paunovic came to the Union with criticism attached, as Philadelphia took a risk on a player who had retired in 2008 because of injuries and had chosen not to return to soccer in 2009 with the New York Red Bulls. Since playing an unconvincing game against the Vancouver Whitecaps in his debut, Paunovic has gone on to score three goals for the Union.

At 33, Paunovic most likely won't find himself called up by Macedonian coach John Toshack, but media and fans in the country are taking notice. A commenter noted that Paunovic is "hes a bit old. but, even now he is still better than all of our midfielders."

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