While Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Chicharito suffered the brunt of the blame for the LA Galaxy’s poor 2020 season, midfielder Jonathan dos Santos has raised his hand and admitted he wasn’t at his best last year, either. Injured for much of the campaign and ineffective otherwise, like most Galaxy players he struggled in a difficult season.
The Mexican international is back and is not only looking to rebound, he wants to thrive in 2021.
“I feel great, I feel stronger than ever,” dos Santos told reporters Monday in English as Galaxy training camp opened. “I feel good, I feel ready for this year, I’m very excited. As I say, I had a very hard year last year. So hopefully this year, it can be my year. My last year of contract, I’m in a contract year, I know what I’m risking. So I know what I’m risking, and I know that this is my year. I’m very excited to play again you know and of course I think this is going to be like my best year, and I want to get big things with the team and with the club, of course.”
Dos Santos has already been hard at work with LA on voluntary workouts and he’s drawn raves on Day 1 from new Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney, who also praised the Mexican stars’ leadership.
“There’s two guys who put a ton of work into the offseason to get themselves into full fitness to be free mentally as they arrive, happy every day that they’ve come in,” Vanney said. “Vocal as leaders, they do their work in slightly different ways, Javier is very vocal throughout the training session. He’s always pushing and teaching and giving information during the run of play. Jona is usually working and then in his breaks he gets guys individually on the side and he starts talking through some things with them. So they’re a great combination.”
It’s unclear who will be Vanney’s first captain with the Galaxy, although dos Santos has had the armband in the past. He said he’s taking his leadership role seriously, mentoring some of the new pros on the squad.
“I know that this is my fourth [full] year here and I’m one of the oldest guys on the team so I know my role,” dos Santos explained. “I know that I have to help my teammates, for some of them it’s their first year in professional teams so I know that they will need me, they will need the players that have more experience. So I know that this year if we want to do something we have to help each other, it’s going to be the one of the most important things this year. Yes, I’m very impressed with all the guys that are training with us that, especially the youngest guys. To say some names, Adam [Saldaña], [Jalen] Neal is another great player. Of course they are just starting but they have a great future so I’m here to help them and anything they need a on the field or out of the field I will be here to help them.”
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