[AMERICANS ABROAD] Man-of-the-match Landon Donovan had an up-and-down 2011 season with the Los Angeles Galaxy and U.S. national team, but you can say nothing bad about his form since returning on loan to Everton. Donovan delivered the telling pass that cut out the Aston Villa defense and found substitute Victor Anichebe for the tying goal in Everton's 1-1 tie in the English Premier League on Saturday. The performance earned praise from Everton manager David Moyes, who said Donovan was the best player on the field ...
"Robbie Keane and Thierry Henry have come back to the Premier League from America and they need a bit of time to settle because of having a break since the end of the MLS," said Moyes. "But Landon has come in and played three or four 90-minute games already on the bounce since he arrived and that says a lot."
Donovan had a strong game for the Toffees, who evened the scored in the 69th minute, 13 minutes after Darren Bent put Villa ahead. The assist was Donovan's second in two starts since rejoining Everton on loan from the Galaxy.
"It's a testament to the professional he is," added Moyes. "He was the best player on the pitch at Villa. His work rate was terrific. I played him on the right, left, then down the middle because he was the one who looked as if he had the energy. We've never had the chance to take him off in games because we need him so much with his running and the quality he has on the ball. Now we are going to try and give him a couple of days off so I don't burn him out before he goes back to LA."
Donovan says he isn't at his best.
"With my form, I'm getting there," said I don't think I've been at my absolute best yet and I think I have more to offer. Not a whole lot has changed in the two years since I was here. Of course, every time you lose players like [Mikael] Arteta and [Steven] Pienaar, there is going to be a difference in quality. But the mentality is good and I think we are just a little bit away from being special again."
Tim Howard was excellent in goal for Everton. At the other end, Irish international Shay Given returned to the starting lineup, replacing American Brad Guzan, who had gotten his first extended run in England when Given was sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Donovan's Galaxy teammate, Ireland captain Robbie Keane, came on as a sub in his first game with Villa on loan from Los Angeles.