Donovan: 'I think I was one of the better players'

[USA MEN] Landon Donovan says he's always been honest in his assessment of his game -- in good times and bad -- and he says he doesn't agree with Jurgen Klinsmann's assessment that other players were ahead of him. Indeed, he says he thought he was going to contribute in a bigger way than he expected before going to the Stanford camp. And in his first remarks since being cut from the U.S. World Cup team two days earlier, he added, "I think every one of my teammates would probably echo those same words."

Donovan's remarks came Saturday at StubHub Center, where the LA Galaxy will play the Philadelphia Union on Sunday night. He told reporters he was not angry at being left off the USA roster, but he was instead disappointed after having what he felt was a strong camp.

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"Based on my performances leading up to camp, based on my preparation for the camp, based on my fitness, based on my workload, based on the way I trained and played in camp, I not only thought I was part of the 23, I thought I was in contention to be starting. That’s why this has all been pretty disappointing."

Donovan had a different assessment of his camp than Klinsmann, who said Friday that other players were ahead of him.

“I think I was at least as good as everyone else at camp," he said, "so from that standpoint I don’t agree with it. I’m pretty honest when it comes to my assessment. When I say I don’t play well, I didn’t play well. When I say I played well, I think I played well. I think I trained and played very well in camp. I think I was one of the better players, so that’s why it stings a little. Like I said before camp, if I had gone in and didn’t feel like I deserved it, then I can live with that, but that’s not the case here.”

Donovan said he was ready to contribute at whatever position Klinsmann asked him to -- "I think I have a lot of versatility" -- and remains ready to rejoin the team in case of an injury.

"That’s what I’ve been working for my entire life," he said of playing in the World Cup. "I don’t wish any body ill will. I hope everyone stays healthy."

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Despite his disappointment, he said it was important that everyone rally around the national team.

"I think it’s also very important that after today we all move forward and support this team," he said, "because they have a big task ahead and I have a lot of friends on that team and teammates that I want to focus the energy and move it toward supporting them so we can have a successful World Cup.”

23 comments about "Donovan: 'I think I was one of the better players'".
  1. Gus Keri, May 24, 2014 at 8:05 p.m.

    A classy player through and through.

  2. Bryan Kempf, May 25, 2014 at 7:28 a.m.

    Classy? If he were classy, then why is he still talking? His initial comments were classy, had he left it alone from then on. This (lando's reaction and the media's coverage) proves the notion that he would be a distraction, if he'd sat the bench in a losing effort. I'm sure he's disappointed, but it's obvious that he feels he was untouchable. If he really wanted to help the team... then he could start by letting this go. Oh, and any chance of being called in as a replacement player is gone now too.

  3. Kent James, May 25, 2014 at 8:12 a.m.

    Gus, I agree with you. Donovan is not dissing the coach, he's giving an honest assessment of his performance at camp (and from the sound of it, it was in response to a reporter's question). Donovan has always been unique in his approach to the game, but it's certainly worked for him. He's a very classy player dealing with what must be one of the most devastating set backs of his career.

  4. Noah Schwartz, May 25, 2014 at 9:38 a.m.

    In J├╝rgen We Trust. All others pay cash.

  5. Tim Gibson, May 25, 2014 at 9:39 a.m.

    Let go LD & all the Klinsi haters, The drama is over & for whatever reason, he didn't cut it.
    I personally feel that in the past 2 years LD lost alotta game. Yea, he still can weight a pretty pass, but in a run to the Cup you need to give %150 & sell your body. Landon hasn't played like that in years, he no longer is willing to go into the tough places & scrap, take a few wacks. "+" ....he dives too much now & that's scary at this tourney to risk the cards for a dumb dive. It's time to move on & support this team AND the freakin' Coach for cripes sake! Everyone repeat after me>>>> GO USA!...We need to back this team & the near impossible task that lies ahead.....I repeat....GO USA!

  6. Roland Barral, May 25, 2014 at 9:39 a.m.

    Klinsmann's decision demonstrates that he does not understand what it takes to build a team and to build a program. No question that he was a excellent player, but the only thing that he has shown as the manager of the USMNT is the ability to move around the players and try to attract new players. How about building what you have? Klinsmann is not good for the future of US Soccer. He needs to work with our heroes. We have a young soccer program and he needs to demonstrate to the American youth that persistence, devotion, and loyalty are rewarded. His casting aside of America's greatest player and the hero of American soccer youth has severely damaged all of us. Klinsmann does not have the right mind set. Good players do not always make good choices. This is perhaps one of the reasons he has been fired from every coaching position he has ever held. Let's get a coach that understand the American ideals and the American spirit. Gulati -- please step in an fix Klinsmann's disaster. Please apologize to Landon and ask him to join the team!!!

  7. Bob Ashpole, May 25, 2014 at 10:20 a.m.

    All seven players cut should believe they were good enough to make the team. As a coach, you want confident players.

    Usually professional athletes (and coaches) give the meaningless cliches to the press. Not the case here. Donovan has to be besieged with requests for interviews and questions by reporters and others about what happened. I don't fault him for making this second statement, which ought to take some of the pressure off him.

    It may be many years in the future but eventually the people involved with talk publically about what happened.

  8. Cory Leonard, May 25, 2014 at 10:52 a.m.

    I am so sick of seeing all these people who are scared to death because LD isn't playing. Grow up and grow a backbone people. Yes, LD was one of the best to play for us. However that's been over the last 14 YEARS. That's a long time to do anything. His recent form has been terrible, therefore he got cut. Guess what? There are 23 guys on that roster who didn't. Support them and support JK. One nation, one team.

  9. Cesar Sastre, May 25, 2014 at 11 a.m.

    Klinsmann's decision was vengeful and ego driven, pure and simple. I would take a 32 year old war veteran like Donovan who still creates havoc and is a great threat over an inexperienced 18 year old any day, with the exception of Messi, Maradona, Pele, etc..., which the USA does not have. Wondo, Beckerman, Jones, just to name a couple over LD, are you kidding me? Clearly, JK favors the German Americans and made it personal with LD. Anyone who knows anything about soccer knows this decision is ridiculous but some will keep praising JK. Gotta wonder why Bayern Munich and Germany sacked JK. LD has the right to free speech and contained himself in his remarks. More will come out after our 3 game performance and early exit in Brazil.

  10. stewart hayes, May 25, 2014 at 11:57 a.m.

    Even those who may believe that LD can no longer be of help to the USMNT in Brazil have to admit that this has become the story and a huge distraction. Only time will tell how it has affected the team. It could have been easily avoided. JK must have had a powerful reason for doing it or it was a mistake.

  11. Cory Leonard, May 25, 2014 at noon

    If it's so vengeful and ego driven, why bring him in to camp? For that matter, why call him up at all? Why not just leave him goal less in LA, and let him spend his summer not doing much for the Galaxy and watching the WC on television? This is a coaching decision, plain and simple. And if you don't know that then you should remove your head from your rear.

  12. John Pomeroy, May 25, 2014 at 12:04 p.m.

    Klinsmann's comments showed that he doesn't believe Donovan is really playing to his potential, and hasn't for years. Ruud Gullit felt the same way. Donovan has the ability to take players on, but in many games (especially MLS) seems not to want to take risks. But I think it is unfair to judge him by his MLS performances, where the level is inconsistent and the referees hardly control violent conduct. Yes, Clint Dempsey caught fire this season and if Donovan had done the same then he would have forced his inclusion. But Donovan rises to the occasion in big games for the US and finds ways to score. Altidore and the new forwards haven't shown they can do that. He's our Miroslav Klose. If Klose can make the trip at age 35, Donkovan should be there too.

  13. Alberto Mora, May 25, 2014 at 12:18 p.m.

    The fact that we are in the same group with Germany Klinsmann is trying to help his country from one of the most lethal strikers that the US ever had. Real football nations consider that the blend of youth and experience is the best option in the World Cup and Donovan is only 32.
    Please folks make a research and find that there are players in their 30s or more playing in this World Cup.

  14. Roland Barral, May 25, 2014 at 12:33 p.m.

    John - very true. If we were to judge players by performance over the course of a few games, then any player will have a bad streak. JK was just looking for any excuse to justify his personally motivated decision. Indeed, if Donovan's performance over the past 7 games in MLS (that is inconsistent and poor officiating) is the reason, how does JK explain taking Altidore who had 1 goal in 38 games in the EPL. It is clear that JK's decision about Donovan made long ago. Donovan is capable of exploding into a scoring frenzy at any moment, but unfortunately the USMNT will not have the benefit of that. The more JK speaks the more inconsistencies surface.

  15. I w Nowozeniuk, May 25, 2014 at 12:54 p.m.

    What has LD done this season? What did he do last season? Has he been getting better? Has he passion and leadership qualities? Where's the consistency level that is expected and is mostly spotty.

  16. david kindness, May 25, 2014 at 12:56 p.m.

    All teams going to WC will leave off someone who probably should go .. I don't know what went into Klinsmanns choices .. I was shocked the Landon wasn't going but it is what it is ..1 hopes it doesn't bite the USA in the butt ..

  17. cisco martinez, May 25, 2014 at 1:43 p.m.

    Klinsmanns decision to omit Donovan is mind boggling. I've heard so many people suggest Donovan is in bad form, why then did klinsmann make him captain against s. Korea? Why was he even in the top 30? When Tim Howard and Michael Bradley all say that if Donovan is on the he is one of the best players you have to wonder how dumb is klinsmann.

  18. Reuben Valles, May 25, 2014 at 5:24 p.m.

    From what I've heard and been told Donovan was playing well. Jurgen was forced to name the squad without Donovan early b/c Landon was playing well. The longer that camp went on the more clear it was that Wondo, Davis, and others were not going to contribute as much as Donovan. Jurgen did not want to include Donovan and he had to cut him before it became impossible to do so. The truth is that even the most staunch Donovan haters would have an impossible time finding 23 better American players than Landon Donovan. It's just like last summers Gold Cup. No matter what form he is in and what you think about Donovan, if he plays it becomes obvious how dangerous he can be and he becomes one if the better players on the US side. This is why Jurgen changed plans and named the team early before Donovan ruined Jurgen plan to leave him home.

  19. Steven Hulland, May 25, 2014 at 5:39 p.m.

    LD is the face of US Soccer, on his worst day he has too much to offer the team to keep him off of the roster. Green and Yedlen? I understand we need to get them ready for the future but Green is 18 with one cap and Yedlin did not play well against Mexico (heck, or even last week for that matter), how is he going to do well against CR7 IF either one is put in or gets a single minute of playing time? Landon Donovan should have had one of their seats for his leadership, vision and experience. When they need him, he will not be there.... This goes deeper than most realize, YK brought Landon over to Bayern Munich in 2009, he risked his job (and lost it) because he had faith in LD. Landon did not perform as he had hoped. YK lost his faith in Landon when he lost his job at Bayern Munich. In addition, look at Jon Klinsmann's tweet...the family knew of the cut and clearly there are issues between the coach and player. Donovan's decision to take a break from soccer for a while also made Klinsmann question his drive but as always, LD was being accurate and realistic in his self-evaluation, he needed time to get his game straightened out. If someone gets hurt in the next three friendlies, YK will have to go back to Landon and ask him to play....Reuben V - I think you are correct, YK had to "pull the trigger" early as LD was doing fine. If he waited, his decision would make much less sense. I lost a lot of faith in YK when he made this personal and he also started bringing is too many unproven/untested "young guns".

  20. Bryan Kempf, May 25, 2014 at 7:20 p.m.

    I want the US to win the World Cup. JK has done more to advance that cause than any past usmnt coach. Choosing between short term and long term success is difficult. Especially when it means you have to try to please the fans and media. Which in this case is impossible. Because a good number of them are idiots.

  21. Robert Paladin, May 26, 2014 at 3:15 p.m.

    I am from Austria, so I have followed the things JK has done with Bayern and the German team. A lot of talking but he won nothing at the end. JK failed two times in Germany, because he is ridiculous and has no clue. He thinks a 19 year old, who played in a second team in Germany, has 1 cap, is better than LD who scored 57 goals in international games, who played sucessfull in the Premierleague. He is to stupid to know how to use him. LD has to play behind a striker like Robbie Keane and not up in front. He is more play maker, but still can score safely coming from behind and without fighting two defenders in the back. The ball is his strengths and he is the most gifted player by far the U.S. had and still has. Thank you Klinsmann Junior, because of you we know it was a personal issue! Because of this JK should get fired, because he is not looking for the best for the National Team, his personal issues are more important!

  22. Jeff Leis, May 26, 2014 at 7:44 p.m.

    Wake Up! This isn't about 2014. It's about 2018. LD was gone after our selection into the group of death. JK has already thrown in the towel on 2014 and is playing for 2018. Why has he chosen so many players with little to no WC cap time. New contract through 2018 and JK is ditching the present and rolling the dice on the future. And to all of you LD haters out there, this team is going to miss him as will many of us USA fans. I know I will.

  23. Bob Escobar, May 27, 2014 at 7:29 a.m.

    yes you were, unfortunately not now, thank you for the great memories and lets move on...Go USA!!!

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