By IVES GALARCEP
Jurgen Klinsmann made it clear three weeks ago that Landon Donovan’s place on the U.S. Men’s National Team was no longer assured, and that it could be some time before we see the national team’s all-time leading scorer back in uniform.
Now we know that time won’t be any time soon.
Sports Illustrated is reporting that Klinsmann has left Landon Donovan off the roster for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s upcoming training camp ahead of a pair of friendlies and three World Cup qualifiers in May and June.
The roster for the camp will be announced on Thursday.
The news isn’t that much of a surprise given Klinsmann’s comments last month about Donovan, where he made it clear that Donovan’s absence from the team had hurt his standing in the USMNT pecking order.
“We observe what the players are doing in camp, how we’re going through that stretch of very difficult qualifying games. We see the chemistry of the team developing and we try to have a clear picture of every individual player and what they brings to the table in moving this team forward,” Klinsmann said last month.
“Most of the time (Donovan) was not part of that process,” Klinsmann said. “That was his choice, and I totally understand that, and it’s no problem, but at the same time we’re moving forward at our speed.
“There is a chemistry being developed of a group and you always have to feel where this whole thing is moving towards, and he hasn’t been a part of that development of this team most of the time over the past two years.”
While Klinsmann’s exclusion of Donovan will clearly surprise some people, the reality is Donovan has not been anywhere close to his best form since returning to the Galaxy in April after an extended break. Aside from one quality game against Sporting Kansas City, Donovan has been largely underwhelming and has missed a pair of penalty kicks along the way.
So what now for Donovan? He will be able to focus on playing for the Galaxy, and if he gets back to his best form, a call up for the Gold Cup in July seems like a perfect opportunity for him to be integrated back into the national team set-up. A strong performance in the Gold Cup could them draw him closer to a call-up for the next round of qualifiers, in September.
With Donovan not in the picture, Klinsmann will likely to turn to players such as Graham Zusi, Herculez Gomez and potentially Alejandro Bedoya and Fabian Johnson as wide midfield options.
What do you think of Klinsmann leaving Donovan out of the June qualifiers? Think it’s a good idea? Think Klinsmann is crazy for leaving Donovan out?
Share your thoughts below.