Landon Donovan could have done more in career says Jurgen Klinsmann

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Landon Donovan is set to make his final appearance for the United States Men's National Team tonight as he continues the countdown to retirement this summer.

The game against Ecuador marks a staggering 156th game on the international stage for Donovan and will serve as an opportunity for the US as a whole to pay tribute to the man who has emerged as the best US player ever to play the game over the past two decades.

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But, in the eyes of USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann at least, Donovan will be leaving the game having not reached his maximum potential.

"As a coach, you always want to see a player drive for his 100 percent," explained Klinsmann when speaking to the press this week.

"I'm looking at Landon always that I wish, in a certain way, he could have done a bit more here and a bit more there."  

Klinsmann's comments will inevitably jar with those currently indulging in a Donovan love-in as the 32-year-old Galaxy star winds down his career.

But does he have a point?

European misadventure

Donovan is rightly considered the greatest player ever to play MLS and holds virtually ever record going, and ever honor available, in the North American domestic league. But his early career actually begin in Germany, and it is likely it is his two disappointing stints with Bayer Leverkusen (1999-2006 via a move to San Jose) and Bayern Munich (2009) that Klinsmann was referring to in his assessment of Donovan's career.

Donovan managed only 13 games of Bundesliga football split between the two German clubs and there have been some who questioned Donovan's decision not to spend longer in European football.

For some, two successful spells in the English Premier League with Everton, whilst showing he was more than capable of playing against the world's best, only added frustration as to what could have been.

US superstar

Donovan however seems to have no regrets about the choices he has made during his career - and as the pin up boy of the US game can anyone really blame him?

His crucial goals on the international stage have created memories for millions and he has become a legitimate franchise hero at the Galaxy during a decade of service, helping the game grow to previously unfathomable levels.

And even Jurgen Klinsmann, a man who famously cut the midfielder from his 2014 World Cup squad, couldn't begrudge Donovan of what he has done for the game in North America.

"Speaking about Landon, you talk about an absolutely amazing career that he represents,” Klinsmann said.

“Coming into this game – his farewell moment, this decision to leave the game after this season – you want to look at these 13 or 15 years that he played on a very high level, breaking records throughout the system here and coming through the youth system of US Soccer, the residence program.

“He represents so many elements of soccer in the United States. He has been the poster boy of the game, for MLS certainly, for a long stretch of time. He raised the awareness of the game to new dimensions before a David Beckham came into the league or other big names came into the league. He deserves all the admiration and recognition for this amazing career.”


Jurgen Klinsmann
LA Galaxy
Landon Donovan

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