Jurgen Klinsmann spoke with members of the media today from the U.S. Men’s National Team’s camp in Stanford, California. The topic on everyone’s mind was Landon Donovan being left off the final 23-man roster.
When asked about Donovan’s exclusion, Klinsmann said, “We coaches felt like the guys we choose are a little step ahead of Landon in certain areas.” Klinsmann also stated that it was a very tight race for all the positions and that was why 30 men were invited to the training camp.
When asked about his new contract extension through 2018 and if that affected his final roster decisions, Klinsmann was adamant that this was the right choice for his 23-man squad. “This is based on today. This is based on what hopefully goes well the next 7-8 weeks. That had nothing to do with my contract or with the perspective that those young players have for the longer run. It is our strong feeling that these guys are ready for the World Cup.”
The German head coach also defended the age and experience of his final 23-man squad, “If you really go through [the list], it’s an experienced roster, it’s not a young roster.”
Klinsmann was also asked if he spoke with some of the senior members of the squad before announcing Donovan was not on the final list. “No, I didn’t discuss that selection process with the leaders of the team. You don’t want them to be involved in personnel decisions.”
“I have to do what I believe is the right thing as of today and time will tell now over the next seven weeks if it was the right move if it was the right decisions on players on tactical approaches against Ghana, Portugal and Germany and everything we’re going to do now from today going forward. As of today, I’m very strongly convinced this is the right way to go.”
Klinsmann also spoke about the conversation he had with Donovan after the news came out that he was not going to be on the list of 23. “First of all, he took it highly professional with an amazing composure. [It was] obviously [a] big disappointment, that is expected. And he said that he doesn’t kind of understand it. He thinks he should have been in the 23. I tried to lay out a couple of reasons and those are technical parts.” He also said that he asked Donovan that he stay ready to play in case a player gets injured.
The USMNT head coach was also asked about the controversial tweet Klinsmann’s son Jonathan posted after the news was released. He said he was “hugely disappointed” and that his son has a huge admiration of Donovan. And that his son owes the American player a huge apology.
Speaking about the personality of his team, Klinsmann talked about the newcomers to the group:
“They are all very curious guys. They want to learn. They are ready everyday to work hard and make the next step. Every World Cup you have a couple of them growing tremendously. You will see a very interesting process going on with these players. They are ready for it.”