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Landon Donovan

Squad number 9
Position Striker
First Loan Spell
Joined on Loan 2 January 2010
Joined from LA Galaxy (USA)
Full debut v Arsenal (A)
6 January 2010
Contract duration 2½ months
Contract expired March 2010
Finalé v Birmingham (A)
13 March 2010
Loan ended 15 March 2010
Second Spell
Joined on Loan 4 January 2012
Joined from LA Galaxy (USA)
Full debut v Bolton (A)
4 January 2012
Contract duration 2 months
Contract expires February 2012
Finalé v Chelsea (H)
10 February 2012
Loan ended 19 February 2012
Born Ontario, CA, USA
Date of birth 4 March 1982
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)
Nickname(s) The Don, Landycakes
Honours Concacaf Gold Cup (2002, 2005, 2007)
MLS Cup (2001, 2003, 2005)
FIFA U-17 World Cup MVP (1999)
US Young Footballer of the Year (2000)
US Footballer of the Year (2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008)
Concacaf Gold Cup Top Scorer (2003, 2005)
MLS Top Scorer (2008)
Major League Soccer MVP (2008)

Lively and pacey
Always wants the ball
Good ball skills
Not direct enough

Wikipedia Entry

First Spell

On the face of it, a three-month loan deal for Landon Donovan, USA's leading scorer and Major League Soccer's star player, was something of a coup for Everton. At 28, the forward was at the peak of his career and preparing for a star turn in the 2010 World Cup South Africa but his record of "failure" to make the grade in European football meant that his success at Goodison was far from guaranteed.

Over the course of his career, Donovan had tried his hand in the Bundesliga in Germany:

  • Firstly as a youth player he joined Bayer Leverkusen in 1999 but did not really make an impact, playing only in the youth team before getting loaned back to San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS in 2001.
  • Back at Bayer Leverkusen in 2005, he didn't get on that well with the coach, played only seven games (just two starts)  and admitted to an element of immaturity in his response.   
  • At Bayern Munich for a six-month loan in 2009; Not that bad but he did not stand out.

So there were obvious question marks over how the California-raised Donovan would fare in the rough-and-tumble of the Premier League in winter.

An unavoidable subtext to his loan move was the upcoming 2010 World Cup where England and the USA would meet in the opening Group C game in Rustenburg. Getting Donovan a little better acquainted to the English game in preparation for this massive match-up had to have been a consideration. Whatever the motive, he would don the famous Number 9 shirt when he joined the Everton squad on 2 January 2010.

Having fellow yank Tim Howard in the squad was an obvious aid to Donovan's rapid integration into the Everton team as he followed in the footsteps of his compatriots Brian McBride and Joe Max-Moore in flying the Stars and Stripes at Goodson Park.

Coincidentally, Everton legend Jimmy Gabriel, based in Seattle, Washington, had actually given his old team a "heads up" regarding Donovan way back in 2002 when the US star was just coming good. Circumstances conspired against a move, however, with Ray Hall unimpressed after watching him come on as a second-half sub in a dreadful mudbath in Dublin.

It was with the San Jose Earthquakes back in California that Donovan really came good, though, winning the MLS Championship Cup in 2001 and 2003.  In four years, he scored 42 goals with 35 'assists' in 101 appearances.

After flaming out at Leverkusen in 2005, he joined Los Angeles Galaxy, eventually becoming the undisputed king of the Home Depot Center until things turned a bit sour when the Galaxy signed David Beckham and stripped Donovan of the captaincy. 

In 2009, Donovan provided some frank criticism of Beckham's skills in this department for Grant Wahl's book The Beckham Experiment, calling Beckham a poor captain and teammate.

But they patched things up and Donovan went on to have another storming MLS season in 2009, winning the league's Most Valuable Player (MVP) award and leading the Galaxy to the MLS Cup Final, which they lost on penalties.  He was also selected to play in the 2009 MLS All-Stars game, vs Everton, Donovan coming on as a second-half sub and scoring the first penalty in the shoot-out that Everton ultimately won.

He signed with LA Galaxy for another four years in December 2009, a deal that allowed him to seek off-season loan positions, the somewhat abbreviated loan deal to Everton being announced soon after.  But it would only be for 2 months as he returned for MLS pre-season in March 2010, despite Everton's desire to lock him in until the end of the Premier League season.

Throughout his career, Landon Donovan has been a massive star for the USA National team, scoring 42 goals in 120 games. 

Thankfully, Moyes did not procrastinate too much in terms of his team selection, aiming to get the most out of this relatively short loan spell, at least until the end drew near.  Moyes stated that Donovan would not play in the FA Cup tie against Carlisle, but he did well in his first game a week later, at Aresenal.

Donovan settled in pretty well, his goal against Sunderland, underlining the new family feeling.  He has pace, good control, the basic tool kit, and  a good head on his shoulders — a football brain.   He plays well on the ground, and his dead ball delivery is excellent.

He is almost certainly a good learner. His mind buzzing with what he has seen and done (and should have done) and he had every prospect of becoming a very good Premier League player quite quickly. His attitude was a great fit and he responded very positively to Artetas promptings over the following few weeks.

However, towards the end of his all-too-short loan spell, things changed a little, and it coincided with Victor Anichebe's return to fitness. He was dropped in favour of Vic against Spurs long before he left... and when he eventually came on, he missed Sitter of the Season.

He was back in the first team against Hull because Moyes had no fit strikers; both he and Anichebe played...But he was left out again next game at St Andrews when the Yak was fit and Moyes's decision to play Vic instead was vindicated when the Big Lad played very well and scored a screamer; Landon eventually came on, Vic limped off injured... and Everton surrendered a two-goal lead.

Hopes that Donovan would perhaps extend his loan were dashed when Galaxy boss, Bruce Arena, insisted that he wanted his star player back for MLS pre-season training and then when a looming players strike in the American league was averted at the last minute.

Donovan left Goodison with two goals to his name and having been irreparably bitten by the Everton bug, though, vowing that, were he ever to return to the Premier League, it would be to Everton.  With Moyes returning the feeling, it not seem unrealistic to hope that the USA captain would be back in Blue come the winter of 2010.

Those thoughts were only strengthend as Blues watched The Don inspire the US National team to some decent performances in South Africa, drawiing with England and dramtically with Slovenia, wherer he scored a superb solo goal to inspire a great comeback, only to be denied a winning assit on a wronmgly disallowed winning goal. Then beating Algeria to crucially head the group and force England into an  ultimately embarrassing denoument with arch rivals Germany.

Second Spell

In mid-December 2011, Everton announced that Landon Donovan would return to Goodison and pick up his famous Royal Blue Numebr 9 shirt for a second loan spell starting 4 January and finishing after the Anfield derby on 25 February. In the end, the derby was moved, and Landon was sick for his Goodison finalé, which was a pity becuase a big crowd turned up for the comfortable FA Cup 5th Round win over Blackpool.

Although he didn't score in his second spell, he more than made up for it with six excellent match-changing assists and instilling a positivity to Everton's play that had been painfully absent through the increasingly dour nrgative tactics, poor team selections, and total absence of inspiration from a washed-up David Moyes, who Donovan praised effusivley in this parting interview from The Guardian.

He admits: "I'm not wired that way, for better or worse. I know in the short term I will be in LA for the next year. So for the next 12 months, I will be doing the best that I can there. I will then have a conversation with my manager and the owner and see which direction we are going in. If it means I play in LA for another year, another five years, whatever, I am going to turn up and do the best that I can every single day.

"If it means I go somewhere else, I will do that. I don't have this crazy desire to go to this team or that or play in that league. I just want to enjoy what I do and be successful. I suppose human nature is that you always want bigger, better, faster, stronger. But I let the world take me where it is going to take me. I'm enjoying it."

By Michael Kenrick and Lyndon Lloyd
Last updated February 2012

Everton Career (on loan)
Season Squad
Apps (sub)
Apps (sub)
Apps (sub)
2009-10 9 7 (3) 2 3 (0) 0 10 (3) 2
2011-12 9 7 (0) 0 2 (0) 0 9 (0) 0
  Totals 14 (3) 2 5 (0) 0 19 (3) 2


Previous Career
Seasons Team Appearances (sub) Goals
1999-2001 Bayer Leyverkusen  
2001-2004 San Jose Earthquakes *  101 42
2004-2005 Bayer Leyverkusen  2 (5) 0
2005-2013 LA Galaxy  100 56
2008-2009 Bayern Munich *  6 0
                                      * (on Loan)


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