The USA manager explained his decision to omit the USA star from his final World Cup roster.
United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann says his decision to leave all-time leading goalscorer Landon Donovan off his 23-man roster for the World Cup was difficult but one he had to make for the team.
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"Well, this is certainly one of the toughest decisions, also toughest decision in my coaching career, to tell a player like him with everything he’s done and what he represents, to tell him that you’re not part of those 23 right now because I just see some other players slightly ahead of him," Klinsmann said in a video released by US Soccer. "You know, he’s been in that final 30 roster in terms of, you know, now the last 10 days, and he did everything right, he was always positive, he took it the best way possible."
Donovan took the news of the omission well, the manager said, though the attacker was discouraged by the blow.
"His disappointment is huge, I totally understand. He took it very professional because he’s an outstanding professional player, and he knows that I have the highest respect for him, but I have to make the decisions as of today. I have to make the decisions what is good today for this group going into Brazil. And there I just think that the other guys right now are a little bit ahead of him. And I told him that and he understands it, but obviously he’s very disappointed."
The 23 men will continue training in Palo Alto, Calif. before facing Azerbaijan in a May 27 friendly.