2010 FIFA World Cup: Landon Donovan's Time at Everton May Help USA on Saturday

Ron FurlongAnalyst IIJune 10, 2010

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 09:  Landon Donovan captain of US national football team during a news conference at Irene Farm on June 9, 2010 in Irene near Pretoria, South Africa.  US opens their 2010 World Cup against England on June 12 in Rustenberg.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Every time Landon Donovan talks about his two-and-a-half month loan spell with Everton FC, he does so with a certain fondness just visible in his face.

"My experience at Everton was valuable in a lot of ways," Donovan said at his press conference in South Africa on Wednesday. "One was for me personally.

"Furthermore, getting the chance to play against some of the players we'll see Saturday and then also having the ability to understand the way their league is, the style most teams play."

Donovan will try to draw from that understanding on Saturday when the U.S. meets England in the Group C showdown.

The all-time U.S. National Team leader in goal scorer and assists, Donovan will be relied upon heavily by the Americans if they are to beat England. His over 120 caps make him the active player leader for the U.S.

Landon is not underestimating the English squad.

"In my opinion, England is one of the top teams in the world," he said. "With top teams, you don't have a lot of weaknesses."

Landon did admit that is it unlikely his time in Toffee Blue will have much impact in the game.

"Is it going to have a huge impact?" he asked. "Probably not. But having some comfort in that will be helpful."

I think the biggest way it will help Landon is with his confidence. The 28-year-old has played with a renewed sense of confidence ever since the January to March loan spell. He has looked good with both the U.S. team and the L.A. Galaxy at the start of their season.

Donovan is being careful not to put too much emphasis on this game.

"In the bigger picture," he said, "It's just one of three games, and we understand that they're all equally important in that way. ... We can win Saturday and not advance and I'd be disappointed, or we could lose Saturday and end up advancing and I'd be equally as happy."