Ahead of the coming U.S. national team calendar closer, the Nov. 14 contest at Russia, manager Jurgen Klinsmann spent 45 minutes in a fairly wide-ranging discussion with national media members.
Nothing to be marked “sensational” came out, although the next lines of discussion on Landon Donovan deserve mention. Otherwise, Klinsmann did dangle a few interesting morsels.
(We’ll have more discussion later on some of these points … We’ll call these the following bullet points “starters.”):
- The discussion started with Donovan, of course, based on his comments from Wednesday’s ESPN interviews on potentially damaged relationships. Klinsmann doesn’t sound a bit bothered by any of this – or “damaged” in any way, for that matter.
- Bottom line for the program and the efforts to reach Word Cup 2014, Klinsmann said he “absolutely” expects Donovan to be involved in final round World Cup qualifying (which begins early next year). “We hope so, absolutely,” the manager said. “Things can change overnight in our environment. What will happen over next couple of months, we will always adjust, we will always bring in the strongest team we have into our games.”
- The coach said every player, Donovan and the other 45 who have performed under Klinsmann in his 15 months in charge, are individuals. He explained that he understands each needs to be approached and dealt with in different ways. And he doesn’t sound a bit put out by it. (He’s easy going that way. Always has been.)
- On Donovan’s comments about being hurt because some teammates or staff may have felt like he was exaggerating or even faking injuries, Klinsmann said he hasn’t noticed any of it. “From our end, there is absolutely no problem at all.”
- Klinsmann said discussions with his staff and U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati over January camp plans were ongoing. Details are being planned, he explained.
- There was some question about whether he would even have such a January camp as the calendar turned. Thursday, it sounds more like he wants to do it – the next Geoff Cameron-type “discovery” is out there, you know – but needs to determine the optimum camp structure and dates as it relates to a Feb. 6 contest that has yet to be assigned.
- That Feb. 6 match could be in the United States or could be on the road.
- Klinsmann has not made up his mind on whether to fold Jozy Altidore back into the mix.