Klinsmann names Donovan to preliminary roster vs. Russia
LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan, who admitted his relationship with US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and the rest of the US squad may have been affected by his recent stretch of injury-related absences, is on a preliminary list for the Nov. 14 international friendly against Russia.
Klinsmann revealed the news on a media teleconference call held on Thursday afternoon. So barring injury or a deep playoff run by the Galaxy, Donovan will be reunited with the USMNT.
“Landon is always in our roster or especially the preliminary roster that we have to send out to clubs two weeks in advance. And then now it’s depending on his playoff situation," Klinsmann said on the call. "He’s always in our plans, absolutely.”
Donovan was the subject of several questions directed at Klinsmann, including one that specifically addressed Donovan's statement in an ESPN interview that aired at halftime of Wednesday's Eastern Conference Knockout Round match.
"It's probably affected my relationship with everybody on that team," Donovan told ESPN of his recent absences from the US team. "When you're a guy who's never been hurt for the most part and then all of a sudden you have all these injuries, I think people start to question it. 'Maybe he's faking it, or maybe he's not really hurt or maybe he doesn’t want to come in.'
"That's really frustrating and, candidly, it's pretty hurtful."
Klinsmann, however, denied that the sentiment exists in the squad.
"No, that hasn’t been the feeling inside the team," Klinsmann said. "Every time he had an injury issue or problems and he couldn’t come in, which was quite a lot of games, we just took it straight from him. The information we got it from him and we believe him. When he has a problem, he has a problem.
"There are hungry fights going on for spots and I don’t know if he has the feeling that maybe some players didn’t buy in. I didn’t see that. … But if it’s Landon’s thought, he can obviously talk about it, no problem."
Klinsmann called Donovan "courageous" for reflecting publicly about his future in the game and potential retirement in a number of recent media interviews.
"He's carrying this topic with him since quite a while," Klinsmann said. "It’s clearly down to him and what he wants to further achieve in his career and what he wants to do. And whatever he decides to do will be very respected by us and therefore it might be easier to get that answer from him directly."
And so the US team will take a wait-and-see attitude on Donovan, with Klinsmann ready to adjust on the fly based on the players that are available.
He's as "curious" as everyone else to see how the story unfolds this upcoming MLS offseason.
"When one player is not there, then it’s a chance for another player to step in and make a case for the spot and that’s what happens," Klinsmann said in a comment about Donovan's ESPN interview. "So we’ll all be curious to see how it continues."