Alejandro Bedoya: “Honestly, I thought there would probably be wholesale changes throughout the whole team.” Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports

LEIRIA, Portugal — Alejandro Bedoya finds himself in a unique position.

He has gone from battling for a starting job to being a senior member and a leader of the U.S. national team that is preparing to play in Portugal Tuesday.

The 30-year-old midfielder, the oldest player on the 21-man squad, admitted he was surprised he was called in by acting head coach Dave Sarachan.

“Honestly, I thought there would probably be wholesale changes throughout the whole team,” Bedoya said. “But at the same time, you go through a transitional phase, you expect some guys like myself who have been around for a while to be here to get that experience going.”

Bedoya, who has made 65 international appearances, is one of three players on the squad that played in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Defenders John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin were the others.

“As one of the older, more experienced guys, I think I just try to talk to the younger players, show them the way around the national team and kind of guide them through the whole process,” he said.

Bedoya called the U.S.’s elimination from World Cup elimination “a big gut punch.”

“Obviously, you deal with it. The first few days were very tough. It’s hard to get over,” he said.

“With this camp you can only dwell so much on the past. It doesn’t change anything. This is a great opportunity to face a great team. For some of the young kids, take this opportunity and make the most of it. Life, and soccer, goes on.”