CBS2-Header-Logo WFAN 1010WINS WCBS tiny WLNYLogo

Sports

Klinsmann Defends Cutting Legend Donovan From U.S. World Cup Roster

Coach Says Americans Have Enough Experience To Advance Out Of Group Play
Landon Donovan of the US Men's National Team practices in Stanford, California on May 14, 2014. Donovan was among seven players to get cut from the squad heading to the World Cup in Brazil. (Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Landon Donovan of the US Men’s National Team practices in Stanford, California on May 14, 2014. Donovan was among seven players to get cut from the squad heading to the World Cup in Brazil. (Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK SPORTS HEADLINES

Get our weekday morning briefs direct from the WFAN newsroom
Sign Up

STANFORD, Calif. (CBSNewYork/AP) — U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann says he dropped Landon Donovan from the World Cup roster because other forwards in the player pool surpassed him in the months before the American team gathered for its pre-tournament training camp.

“As a coach, you have to make a decision based on what you want to execute in Brazil, what you want to see, how do you want to build those components into the entire group. And then I felt — we coaches felt — the guys that we chose, they’re a little step ahead of Landon in certain areas,” Klinsmann said at a news conference Friday, a day after announcing his 23-man group.

Klinsmann said Donovan “maybe is not the one now anymore to go one against one all the time or going into the box or finishing off,” but still has “his outstanding passing game, his experience, which is a big factor always.”

“He changed his game over the last few years, which is normal at that stage of his career,” the coach said.

The 32-year-old Donovan, the American record holder with 57 international goals and second with 156 appearances, was trying to make his fourth World Cup roster.

Klinsmann, a World Cup champion with West Germany and European champion with Germany, was hired in July 2011. Less than a week after the U.S. was drawn in December into a difficult World Cup group with Ghana, Portugal and Germany, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced Klinsmann’s contract had been extended through 2018.

He maintained the new deal didn’t make him think more toward the future when making his picks.

“This is based on today. This is based on what hopefully goes well the next seven, eight weeks, so that had nothing to do with my contract or with the perspective that those young players have for the longer run,” he said.

His roster includes 18-year-old winger Julian Green, who made his national team debut last month and has just six minutes of first-team experience with Bayern Munich; 21-year-old central defender Anthony Brooks, who has three international appearances; and 21-year-old right back DeAndre Yedlin, whose only national team appearances were as a second-half substitute this year.

“Some have a learning curve ahead of them, there’s no doubt about it,” Klinsmann said. “But they are ready for that learning curve, and they might surprise some people out there.”

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)