Just in case there was any doubt that Landon Donovan returned from his hiatus a changed man, he continues to put that to rest with both his play on the field and his words off of it. The latest comes in an interview he did with Fox Soccer Daily in which he spoke highly of the competitive environment that Jurgen Klinsmann had created within the United States national team and gave some of his strongest indications that he's considering a move abroad.
Rather than bristle at his being left off the roster for the World Cup qualifiers and virtually being forced to play his way back onto the team through the World Cup, Donovan seems to have embraced Klinsmann's motivational techniques.
"The biggest thing he's done is make it competitive," Donovan said. "Sometimes, as older players we want the opportunity to get the benefit of the doubt. But that's out the window and I think that's better for all of us. That's made us compete harder.
"Sometimes, it's a little cutthroat, but for us as players we want that competition. I know it pushes me when I see Jozy (Altidore) score three goals, when Clint (Dempsey) scores. When Eddie Johnson is scoring, it motivates me to play better. It's better for all of us."
It's clearly having a positive effect on his play. In 21 competitive appearances for club and country since returning from his self-imposed hiatus, Donovan has scored 11 goals and dished out 12 assists. Since his return to the national team, he's been even better as he's scored 11 goals and had eight assists in 12 appearances (which includes the friendly against Guatemala and a pair of games with the Galaxy in the Champions Cup).
Those kinds of performances seemingly have got him thinking about giving Europe another shot.
"Right now I am enjoying myself, I want to continue enjoying myself, we have received offers from teams in different countries that are intriguing.
"I am still going to speak with the Galaxy and see how they value me and see where they want to go, going forward, but I am really open in a way that I haven't been before in the past. I was pretty content to stay in LA. But if it doesn't work out and we can't come to an agreement here then I am ready for a different challenge and we will see what happens."
If he does stay in MLS, he seemed to suggest it wouldn't be on a hometown discount, especially after seeing the welcome mat laid out for Dempsey
"I think all of us are happy for him," Donovan said when asked about Dempsey's return. "As players, we're very happy that the league is stepping up and committing those kind of resources to American players they want playing in the league."