• News

‘Almost beyond repair’ – Donovan reacts to McKennie’s COVID suspension

Weston McKennie, Landon Donovan
Getty Images

USMNT legend Landon Donovan is ‘incredibly disappointed’ in Weston McKennie after the midfielder’s COVID-19 suspension from the national team.

Weston McKennie’s suspension leaves him in a place ‘almost beyond repair’ in the U.S. men’s national team, says Landon Donovan.

The 23-year-old missed Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Canada in a World Cup qualifier due to a suspension for breaching the team’s COVID-19 protocols. The U.S. Soccer Federation extended the ban on Monday, ruling McKennie out of the Honduras match this week. Therefore, he will instead report back to Juventus in Italy.

The full story of how McKennie broke the team rules is yet to come out, although Donovan claims to know what happened.

Speaking on the Futbol with Grant Wahl podcast, Donovan said: “I will just say I am privy to what happened. I’m not going to announce that publicly. I will just say that I am incredibly disappointed in Weston, incredibly disappointed. Look, I can understand being at Juventus during a long club season, you’re sitting at home for months and months and months and you want to have people over. Is it the smartest thing to do? No, but I get it.

“This is one week of your life with three massive games, not only for yourself but for your teammates and for your country to go to a World Cup and the level of selfishness in that moment is beyond me. Honestly, it’s beyond me.

“I’ve made a lot of dumb mistakes in my life, I get it. I’m not here to be all righteous, and he is young, yes, but he’s old enough to understand that you don’t do this. You don’t need to put yourself in this situation and worse, put your team in that situation.

“Would they have won the game if he’s on the field yesterday? I don’t know, but their chances went up a lot, I promise. If he was on the field, then their chances of winning or getting a point against Honduras go up a ton on Wednesday if he’s in the lineup.”

Donovan added: “I am just really disappointed with him. It doesn’t mean you write him off and he’s a horrible human being. He needs to learn from this, but this can never ever happen again.

“It is almost beyond repair and he has a lot of work to do with his teammates to make sure that he never does something like that again because you lose trust in your teammates. This is their livelihood. These guys want to go to a World Cup. Christian [Pulisic] knows what it feels like to sit on the field in Trinidad, crying because he didn’t go to a World Cup, and you can’t put your team in that situation.”

San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Jackson Yueill will replace McKennie in the team.