Donovan prepared for fight to win back starting role for US

CARSON, Calif. – Whether it has been LA Galaxy duty or a physical ailment standing in the way, Landon Donovan has not had much activity with the US national team under Jurgen Klinsmann.

But that's all about to change.

The Galaxy captain took off for the national team camp after Saturday’s SuperClásico as the Nats begin to gear up for World Cup qualifying, but he's got his work cut out for him for the first time in a long time on the international stage.

“At this point, it’s been so long that I have to go in and prove myself,” Donovan said. “Those guys have been together for so many months in a row that that’s my mindset, to go in and make sure I become a part of the team now.”

Donovan has played just two games under Klinsmann since he took over for Bob Bradley last summer, and he has yet to play with fellow standout Clint Dempsey since the Gold Cup final last summer.

“I know Jurgen well and I know the guys well,” Donovan said. “There’s maybe a few new players, but I think it will be pretty seamless. And it’s not my first camp so I’ll be fine. It will take a little bit of time probably to understand ideas and philosophy and those kinds of things, but I think Jurgen and I see the game the same way, so it will be pretty easy.”

Donovan will have plenty of opportunities to prove himself. The Yanks kick off their qualifying campaign on June 8 against Antigua and Barbuda in Tampa, Fla., before traveling to Guatemala for a June 12 matchup.

In the meantime, however, the US have three friendlies to look forward to – Scotland on Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., Brazil on May 30 in Landover, Md., and Canada on June 3 at Toronto's BMO Field.

“It’s been a long time for me and I’m excited,” Donovan said of his return to the national team. “I’m excited to see the guys, and excited to be part of what they’re doing there. … It’s hard when you’re looking from the outside in for so long. I’m excited to get there.”

Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by email at buendoad@gmail.com.