Landon Donovan gave a candid interview to ESPN’s Roger Bennett, where he claims there is a decent chance he would not appear for the U.S. at the 2014 World Cup. Donovan, struggling with injuries, has appeared in just eight of 20 games under Klinsmann.
"When asked if he expects to play at World Cup 2014, Donovan strives to be as transparent as possible. “I don’t have the answer to that,” he responded. “There are a lot of moving pieces: Will I be playing, period? Will I be part of the team? Will I be good enough to be wanted?” he continued. “If I had to guess I would say it is 50-50. I will have more clarity after I take a break.”"
Donovan’s comments feel jarring – athletes rarely address existential crises with candor – but they shouldn’t be. He has never been a pathological athlete, driven by some insatiable urge to compete. He’s past his peak, feeling his body break down and facing imminent entry into the real world after playing professional soccer since his teenage years. It would be abnormal if he were not feeling some form of ennui.
Will Donovan play for the US at the World Cup? Well, the U.S. has to qualify from CONCACAF first, but we would guess yes. He will be called up if playing and healthy with his combination of skill and experience, even for a limited role. He has said things in the past when exhausted at the end of a long season. Donovan spoke of the possibility he might retire in the same breath as the possibility he might not be alive in 2014. Despite the recent talk of retirement and lack of motivation, he still flew to Antigua to try to play for the USMNT with a knee injury. What we read most into his comments about his future is he’s sick of people asking him about it.
Landon is only 30 (even if it is a grizzled 30). We’d expect, when he gets more clarity, one last chance against the world’s best will keep him around to 2014.
[Photo via Presswire]