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Landon Donovan’s hypocrisy



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Sometimes in life we have the luxury of being able to say something, criticize people or change our views on things without anyone being able to point out the fact that we’ve changed our opinion of views.

Sometimes we don’t even realise we’re going against our beliefs until we’ve carried out the act. Though unfortunately for professional footballers, every comment made is recorded, noted down and stored in the archive for future reference.

And with this, I present you a quote from Landon Donovan, star of American Soccer and committed professional to his beloved Major League Soccer.

Landon Donovan Quote – July 2009

“My sense is that David is clearly frustrated, that he’s unhappy and, honestly, that he thinks it’s a joke. I also kind of feel that he’s taking the team for granted. I don’t see dedication or commitment to this team, and that’s troubling”.

Donovan made these comments when asked about David Beckham’s likely loan move to AC Milan during the MLS’s season break. The 27-year-old clearly had strong views that Beckham should stay in America for the close season and not keep up his fitness for the World Cup. Going to Italy to play for three months just didn’t show enough commitment to Donovan and his fellow team-mates.

That number nine for Everton looks familiar?

Hold on a minute, it’s Landon Donovan. Playing in England? On loan to another club? So now let’s have Beckham’s perspective. The World Cup is approaching and in fear of not being match fit you decide it’s best to take a loan move to a club in Europe, who play at a higher standard, in order to be a justified selection for your country. If you were Landon Donovan’s team mate he would label you ‘un-loyal’ if you were even considering such an un-godly act of footballing nature.

Yet after claiming David Beckham was not commited to L.A Galaxy, Donovan was soon putting finishing touches to his proposed move to the Premier League to join Everton. Now I’m really confused. Perhaps now we can see the true message behind Donovan’s quote back in July of last year.

Sour grapes or regretful past

Lets not be too harsh on poor Landon, because as we’ve seen for Everton so far in the F.A Premier League, he’s quite a player. Imagine being the golden boy of your club and nation, the country at your feet and women falling all over themselves for you.

Then David Beckham arrives. He takes your captaincy, starts being handed all the corner duties that YOU used to have and to make matters worse he makes your pay package seem as good as getting a bag of peanuts for wages. Lets be honest, your going to feel a bit of remorse towards him.

Perhaps Donovan came out with those comments, because after training and playing with Beckham, he couldn’t think how the Englishman was any better than him. After all, Donovan can also strike a sweet ball, convert penalty’s and what’s more, he even has a bit of pace and eye for a trick or two.

In that period of two years, Donovan may have realised that he should have made the move to England so much sooner, testing himself on a level which is a more worthy suitor for his talent. And so, after a previous unsuccessful loan spell in Germany, he decided to give England a go. After all if lousy, un-motivated and lazy Beckham was able to do it, so could he. Beckham never really outshone him in an MLS game anyway, did he?

Changes in Loyalty

Instead of staying in the States with L.A Galaxy, Donovan is doing exactly the same thing he criticized Beckham for doing seven months ago. What comeback can you have to that? OK, so he might be doing American football a favour in general circumstances, for coming to England and being at the top of his game ready to lead his country to World Cup success, but then if he was truly committed to L.A Galaxy (as he likes to portray at Beckham’s digression) perhaps he should give the World Cup a miss altogether. That way he could fire the Galaxy to trophy success like he did in his previous time there before Beckham arrived.

Better late than never
Donovan looks to have fitted in well to the Premier League and has put in some eye catching performances for the Toffees scoring his first goal for them recently against Sunderland. It’s a shame that he didn’t come to England sooner and there’s no doubt he would have enjoyed the same success as fellow Americans such as Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller, Clint Dempsey and err John Harkes.

Let’s just hope that through him now showing a little bit of ambition, he can realise why going out on loan during a season break isn’t exactly a sin.

Difference in Class

Beckham, unlike Donovan, has been part of some very talented teams with Manchester United, Real Madrid and England. The fact of the matter is that in highly successful enviroments such as these clubs, they have something called team ethic.

Never do you hear players come out andcritisize fellow team mates at United. Of course that’s not to mean there aren’t disagreements, of course there are, but they’re sorted out in the privacy of the changing room walls. People don’t get the opportunity to have a look in and see the cracks, and so sometimes, it appears there are none.

But Donovan came out and gave everybody what they wanted, not realising that he himself was the one who was really displaying un-professional behaviour and disrespect to this team-mates. And so by him coming out in the media to make his point, means we can now bring the point back to Donovan and question where is his dedication and commitment to L.A Galaxy? It’s in England. Did I hear the word hypocrite anyone?

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Alex Hill is a sport journalist who works on a freelance basis for BBC Norfolk online. He's also had experience working at regional newspaper The Eastern Daily Press and has had a placement with the London Evening Standard. Alex is soon to be joining Sky News Sport in Feburary on a three week placement and enjoys reading and writing about the latest topics in football during his free time. A former player himself, Alex had to make to tough decision to stop playing after picking up multiple injuries to his back.