CARSON, Calif. – In an interview with reporters in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann stated that Landon Donovan still has a ways to go before he earns his way back into the U.S. setup and on Thursday, the LA Galaxy attacker agreed.
Klinsmann talked to reporters at length on Wednesday about Donovan’s status with the National Team stating that there are “players clearly ahead of Landon Donovan in how we see things.”
The Galaxy forward is coming off a stellar game in which he notched a goal and an assist in LA’s 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City with Klinsmann in attendance at The Home Depot Center. However, he is clearly aware that he’ll have to have more than just one solid game to work his way back into the national team.
“I agree with him. Just because you score a goal and have a good game doesn’t mean that you’re a National Team player. I’ve said from the beginning that I have to earn my way back and playing one good game doesn’t earn your way back. I still have a long way to go.”
Donovan has made just eight appearances for the National Team in their last 25 fixtures and during his conversation with reporters, Klinsmann touched on concerns about Donovan mixing into the team’s chemistry, forged during their recent World Cup Qualifying campaign.
“[Chemistry] is important. That’s been in the staple of our national team all the years that I’ve been there,” said Donovan. “What makes us able to compete with the best teams in the world is that we have this strong bond and this strong group and chemistry that I don’t think other teams have. So when you’re away from the team for a time, you’re a bit of an outsider. I want to get back in; I want to get back involved so that I can be a part of it.
“I don’t worry about fitting in, but I need to be there to be able to gel with everybody.”
Following his strong performance in his fifth game since his absence from the club, Donovan believes that the answer to earning his spot is simple. He’s got to play well.
“I have to continue to build on what I did last weekend, but after that there’s still no guarantee,” said Donovan. “Like Jurgen said, I’m well behind the group in a lot of ways and I’m aware of that. All I want is a chance to prove that I belong and I’m going to have to work hard just to get that chance.”
But do Klinsmann’s comments provide any extra motivation or incentive for Donovan? Not at all.
“I know how to motivate myself now. Listen, Jurgen was asked a question and he was answering honestly. I would answer the same way if I was in his position,” asserted Donovan. “I don’t need extra incentive. I’m motivated and I want to get back there. If it doesn't happen, it doesn’t happen, but I’m going to try my best.”