March 8th, 2010
10:39 AM ET

Let Landon stay in England ... for America's sake

If Landon Donovan is the key to the USA having even a half decent run in the upcoming World Cup isn't it in the interests of every member of the American soccer fraternity to have him playing at the highest level in the lead up to the tournament? You'd think so wouldn't you? But, sadly for the USA the Los Angeles Galaxy, and more specifically Galaxy head-coach Bruce Arena, think otherwise, having moved to deny Everton's request to extend his loan spell in England for the remainder of the Premier League season.

Landon Donovan celebrates scoring Everton's fourth goal in a 5-1 rout of Premier League opponents Hull. The American became a firm favorite with the fans during his short stay.
Landon Donovan celebrates scoring Everton's fourth goal in a 5-1 rout of Premier League opponents Hull. The American became a firm favorite with the fans during his short stay.

Not that Arena is acting alone in demanding that Donovan returns on March 15 as scheduled, as nothing happens at the Galaxy without the approval of the club's chief executive, Tim Leiweke. But Arena of all people, having been the boss of Team USA from 1998 until 2006, should know the chance for Donovan to stay in the zone as an integral part of the Everton squad is exactly what the USA needs to keep their captain in peak of form for South Africa.

Footballers thrive on big matches, because big matches demand the best of them mentally and physically. And if they can get the momentum going, as Donovan has certainly done during his 10-week stay at Everton, their performances usually improve exponentially. The fact is you can't replicate the pressure and atmosphere of a big match if the game doesn't fall into that category; and when compared to the 11-games he'd play for Everton in the lead-up to the World Cup, the 11 games he'd play for the Galaxy just can't compete in intensity.

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Obviously, he's made a commitment to the Galaxy, having signed a four-year contract extension just last December. But as his Galaxy teammate, David Beckham, realized when he sought to extend his first loan move to AC Milan, playing with the big boys can be very seductive. Beckham, of course, successfully fought to stay with Milan, and indeed won the right to return this year. Why? Because Fabio Capello said he had to be competing regularly at the top level to be eligible for the England World Cup squad. Doesn't that send a message to the USA? If Bob Bradley, the national team boss, wants Landon at his best in South Africa, he has to arrive on a high. I'd suggest that he's more chance of doing that coming from the Premier League than he does from the MLS. So, is it too much to ask the Galaxy to make the sacrifice?

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soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. John

    YES! Keep him in England!!!!!!!

    March 8, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Reply
  2. Hollywood

    Landon Donovan can not carry the the whole USA team by himself... Yes he performed well in England however the USA team's needs a full team effort if they even want to make it to the knockouts rounds.. As far as I am concerned the USA team will get eliminated quickly...

    March 8, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  3. Kimo

    Thank you, Terry Baddoo. I think it would be stupid of the LA Galaxy to bring him back stateside while he is in the form that he's in right now. You're talking Donovan having to make a complete change of style if he goes back to MLS next week and that cannot be good for the national team. I am surprised that Bob Bradley hasn't gotten involved in this.

    When you've got guys playing with confidence the way Donovan is doing at the moment, it could go a long way as to how the national team does in the World Cup. Not to put any pressure on him because it takes more than Donovan for the US to perform at a top level.

    Hopefully, Arena and Leiweke will be reasonable and let the guy stay over in England until the end of the season. They still have a few days left, but I don't see it happening.

    March 8, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  4. Ahmed

    I couldn't agree more! Landon has been playing really well with Everton all throughout this season. Perhaps his last game against Hull City shows how much he is in shape.

    Landon should stay uninterrupted with Everton until the end of the season. Perhaps then he can come back to Galaxy and maybe even get back in form with his team mates.

    The American soccer team has made many many strides at exponential speed. To maintain this success, the team needs his key players to be fired up and in their prime form for South Africa. Do not forget, team USA is playing England, Algeria and Slovenia if my memory serves me right.

    With regards to Algeria, the American team should not have much trouble. They won the Egyptians once and the Egyptians play almost in the same fashion as the Algerians. But when it comes to England, having key players like Landon immersed in the Premier league will definitely give Bradley and his players the best feedback, and the best orientation to play a superb game.

    All the best luck to the American team.

    March 8, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Reply
  5. Jesse

    Terry Baddoo, you are absolutely correct.

    This can be good for Everton, the American team, and LA Galaxy.

    How can Bob Bradley not see it!

    March 9, 2010 at 10:46 am | Reply
  6. agumba

    I completely agree with the topic. Donovan should stay with Everton at untill the end of the season and especially for the world cup.

    March 12, 2010 at 10:16 am | Reply
  7. steve ukpong

    Bruce Arena will be doing his country America a world of good by allowing, and even encouraging Landon Donovan to remain at Everton to compete at the level that will make him achieve the best physical & mental frame for South Africa.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Reply
  8. Spencer Shein

    Cool:)

    April 27, 2010 at 12:14 am | Reply
  9. Siva

    Good question

    May 2, 2010 at 10:09 am | Reply

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