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Juergen Klinsmann growing weary with Landon Donovan's 'break'

January 23, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • U.S. national team Coach Juergen Klinsmann seems to be growing frustrated with Landon Donovan's extended break from soccer.
U.S. national team Coach Juergen Klinsmann seems to be growing frustrated… (Mike Hewitt / Getty Images )

Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said Landon Donovan will be part of the team this season, but he's letting his captain work out the timetable for his return from a self-imposed break designed to rekindle his passion for soccer.

However, Juergen Klinsmann, manager of the U.S. national team, doesn't sound quite as forgiving.

In an extended interview with Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal, Klinsmann appeared a bit frustrated with Donovan, who complained of physical and mental exhaustion last year.

"Landon wanted his time," Klinsmann said. "He made certain decisions throughout the last couple of years that are his decisions. I watch that. I evaluate that.

"I could have evaluated him a few times when he was with us, not that many times. I will make the call at the end of the day if he hits into my plans or not."

The national team began its winter training camp at the Home Depot Center 2 1/2 weeks ago ahead of the final round of World Cup qualifying, which the U.S. begins Feb. 6 in Honduras. Klinsmann said he told Donovan last month that he wouldn't be called up for that game.

"I told him in December he's not part of the Honduras game. From his perspective, he's still on his break."

In an earlier interview with Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl, Klinsmann said he has texted invitations to meet face to face with the player but Donovan has so far declined.

"I've offered lunches, dinners, coffees," Klinsmann told Wahl. "But he wanted to take his break and I said that's fine."

Donovan, the U.S.' all-team leader in goals and assists and widely considered the top American soccer player ever, has played in just six of the national team's last 19 games under Klinsmann.

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