US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann contends "there are players clearly ahead of Landon Donovan"
Speaking to the USMNT press corps on Wednesday, US manager Jurgen Klinsmann made it clear that, although Donovan appears back in form after returning from his offseason hiatus, he is not guaranteed a recall to the US team.
“There are players clearly ahead of Landon Donovan right now,” Klinsmann said. “We’ll see now how he will do in the next couple of weeks and months. We’ll look at the entire picture. And then make our calls.”
Donovan received glowing reviews for his one-goal, one-assist performance in LA’s 2-0 win over Sporting Kansas City last weekend. Afterward, the 31-year-old suggested that the performance is only a hint of what the US’s all-time leading scorer is still capable of.
And last month, Donovan declared his desire to again suit up for his nation and his understanding that Klinsmann will evaluate him “like any other player.”
Klinsmann reinforced that notion on Wednesday.
“It’s not down to one game when you score one goal, 'Now you’re back in the team,’” he said. “I’ve always said that I would observe him like we will observe all the other players over the stretch of a period of time.”
Even if Donovan were to go on a tear, scoring goals, creating chances, and reiterating his commitment to the US team’s qualification for the 2014 World Cup, Klinsmann still seems unsure about recalling him.
“There is a chemistry being developed as a group … and he hasn’t been part of that development most of the time over the last two years,” Klinsmann said. “Chemistry is very important.”
Greg Lalas is editor in chief of MLSsoccer.com.