Jurgen Klinsmann explains leaving Donovan off roster

Jason O. Watson

Jurgen Klinsmann addressed the media this morning from the Stanford campus, the first time members of the press were able to ask him questions about his exclusion of Landon Donovan from the 23 man World Cup roster.

Jurgen Klinsmann addressed the media this morning from the Stanford campus, the first time members of the press were able to ask him questions about his exclusion of Landon Donovan from the 23 man World Cup roster. The lion's share of the questions were about Donovan, and those that weren't were framed in a way that made it clear it was an attempt to understand why other guys were chosen ahead of him.

The biggest talking points going away are that Klinsmann sees Donovan as a forward more than in the midfield, and that Donovan is his first call if an attacking player is unable to go.

"If something happens I can call [Donovan] & he's back," said Jurgen Klinsmann. "He said 24/7 he's at our disposal, when the call comes he's ready to go."

On top of this, Klinsmann said he has strong hope that Donovan continues with the United States national team. So despite not making the World Cup roster, we could still see him in a national team shirt down the line. Injuries do happen, so there's even still a chance we'll see him at the World Cup in Brazil.

The non-Donovan questions were mostly about the younger players Klinsmann is bringing to Brazil. Klinsmann didn't see lack of World Cup experience as any sort of a deterrent and went on to say, "I'm not comparing Julian [Green] with Landon".

He was quite reluctant to break down Donovan's exclusion into any specific lacking thing. Klinsmann stressed that every player has strength and weaknesses, and this was about the best group of 23 players more than one player being objectively better than another. Donovan gave everything at camp, and the decision was made very difficult.

As many have speculated, my general feeling is that this is a decision Klinsmann came to some time ago. He has to respect what he's gotten out of Donovan, but likely feels he can get those wonder goals from other sources. If we're talking about Donovan coming off the bench, that's the most valuable skill. The passing master that is Donovan isn't.

This story will continue to develop over the next few weeks. It's doesn't quite feel over yet.

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