On “Landon Donovan Day” the U.S. national team head coach isn’t showing quite as much love or appreciation for Donovan’s career with the USMNT as many others. Not at all.
According to an article posted by ESPN, who will be airing Donovan’s farewell game vs. Ecuador at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, Klinsmann has revealed his thoughts that Donovan could have done more throughout his career.
Read the comments from the USA’s head coach below, as we are starting to see a somewhat icy relationship play out in public between Donovan and Klinsmann following the latter omitting the USMNT’s all-time leading goalscorer from his 2014 World Cup squad.
“As a coach, you always want to see a player that drives for his 100 percent,” Klinsmann said. “I wished in a certain way, ah, he could have done a bit more here and a bit more there… I think it could have gone even further than that.”
With Donovan set to make his 157th and final appearance for the USA on Friday in East Hartford in front of a packed stadium, LD will start the match and play the first 30 minutes before being substituted in an emotional farewell. Speaking to the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday, Donovan admitted that he has yet to speak with Klinsmann about his farewell game and that he doesn’t have much to say to the German coach.
Klinsmann did have some very positive things to say about Donovan in the ESPN article we linked out to, calling him “the poster boy of MLS” and lauding his impact on the game in the U.S. However, these comments will only add further fuel to the fire that a rift wider than the Grand Canyon has developed between Donovan and Klinsmann.
With a record 57 goals for the USA in 156 games, plus 58 assists, could Donovan had done much more on the international stage? Probably not. In terms of staying in MLS and helping the league grow to where it is today, Donovan has also done so much to help soccer grow in North America. Perhaps Klinsmann is referencing LD’s brief forays overseas with Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Everton and would have liked to have seen him flourish in the Premier League or Bundesliga for many years. Who knows.
What we do know is that Donovan has done things his way (as our own Jeff Kassouf points out superbly in this piece) and he will continue to do that until the very end when he walks off the pitch at Rentschler Field on Friday to a standing ovation.