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Football: Donovan hopes to return to US national team

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

All-time US scoring leader Landon Donovan said Thursday he wants to return to the United States squad after a four-month break from football as the Americans try to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

The 31-year-old forward worked out with his Los Angeles Galaxy teammates for the first time this year at Georgetown University two days after the 2012 Major League Soccer champions met US President Barack Obama in the White House.

"My primary goal now is get back playing (with the Galaxy)," Donovan said in comments on the Galaxy website. "I realize I have a long way to go both on the field and off the field to work my way back into the national team, and that's my goal.

"If that's something that presents itself, it's something I want to do. I miss being a part of that and I want to represent my country again."

After a Sporting News report of dissension in the US camp over the coaching methods and leadership of US coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the US side beat Costa Rica 1-0 at home last week and played a key goal-less draw Tuesday at Mexico.

"I don't think you can overstate the significance of that result," Donovan said. "In those games it's not always pretty, but there's not many teams that go there and get results."

Donovan said he watched the US matches on television after seeing the Galaxy's opener had made him hungry to play again after his break.

"I definitely needed a break. I wanted to get the enjoyment back," Donovan said. "I watched our first game against Chicago at home and really had that itch again to play and knew that I was ready.

"This week was pretty difficult watching the US in those games when you want to be a part of it. I'm glad that that feeling is back. It's what I wanted."

Donovan said he has spoken to Klinsmann and he knows that if he wants to contribute to the US quest to qualify for Brazil, he must work himself back into shape for the Galaxy first and then for international top-level matches.

"Jurgen and I have always been very open and honest with each other. It's one thing I really respect the most about him," Donovan said. "He certainly hasn't agreed with a lot of my choices and that's understandable."

"But we have always been honest and I let him know I needed some time away and he has heard that a lot from me lately. He has always been very respectful. He has always been supportive.

"And now my task is to find my way back in and certainly no obligation on anyone's part to let me back in. I've got to earn my way back."

The US team is vying with Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Panama for three guaranteed 2014 World Cup berths from North America. The US team is third behind Panama and Costa Rica after three of 10 round-robin matches.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130328/football-donovan-hopes-return-us-national-team