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Donovan Returns To La


Landon Donovan has returned to LA Galaxy following his 10-week loan spell but says his experiences at Everton will never be matched.

The American scored two goals during his time with the Blues and featured in 13 games, starting 11 of them including clashes with the so-called top four.

But one match in particular has made a lasting impression on the 28-year-old.

"The send-off from the fans after the Hull City game was one of the most incredible experiences of my life," Donovan told evertonTV.  "You feel proud but it was also a sad moment, because when you're accepted that way and you feel that love, it's hard to leave.

"I've never seen or experienced anything like that and I just kind of went with the moment - I didn't want to make too much of it and have them booing me and get me off the pitch!

"I just wanted to show my appreciation.  For me, I fed off that energy and I hoped that they fed off my energy - then it's been a win-win for everyone.

"Playing and beating Chelsea and Manchester United within the space of a week will be something I will always remember too," he continued.  "I don't think any other American has had the opportunity to do that and there aren't many other players in the world who get to play against and beat those two teams."

Despite being crowned the MLS MVP for 2009, last year started with a relatively unsuccessful loan stint at Bayern Munich.

Critics in Germany questioned whether the forward had the necessary mental toughness to survive in European football.

However Donovan believes his time with Everton has shown he can play football at the highest level.

"I've proved to myself that I can't control what people think or what people say or what people believe about me," he explained.  "Those closest to me know how important this was to me personally.

"I've proved to myself that I can play against any player in the world and that's a pretty cool thing to think. Where I came from as a young boy, I didn't have soccer on TV and I didn't know any teams in the world outside of Manchester United or Real Madrid. To come to this point and do what I'm doing is pretty special.

"It wasn't easy in Germany, for a lot of different reasons. It would be easier to say that it was because they didn't do something, but I came here this time with a different mindset. Maybe if I had done that before then it may have turned out differently."

Donovan picked up Everton's Player of the Month award for January during his time on Merseyside scoring his first goal against Sunderland that month.

But the record goal scorer for the United States team say his miss against Tottenham with the Blues 2-1 down still plays on his mind.

"The biggest thing for me is that I don't want to let the team down and when you're given an opportunity like I've been given and when you've been accepted that way then you don't want to let the team down.

"I knew personally that I was going to recover," Donovan said.  "I'm a firm believer that you can't let that miss affect your next game, because it will affect you over and over again. I let that go, but I felt poorly and if I got in the next game then I wanted to make an impact."

Donovan also leaves Merseyside with high praise for David Moyes and says the Everton manager played a huge part in helping him settle into Premier League life so quickly.

"Before I came, I had a lengthy talk with Tim Howard about the Club and the manager in particular and Tim has nothing but great things to say about him,” Donovan revealed to evertonTV.  "I think that first and foremost, there is a mutual respect. Every time I play and every time I train I try to give everything I have and I think he respects that.

"I give him so much credit for throwing me in the Arsenal game and saying: 'Just go.'

"When someone does that, you don't want to let them down, but you also bring more out of yourself because you want to play well for someone like that."

Despite attempts to extend Donovan's loan period at Everton, LA Galaxy have now recalled him to their squad ahead of the start of the MLS season on 27 March.

It is still unclear if the American league will kick-off on time as the threat of a players strike looms following disagreements over the labour contract currently in place.

Donovan's final word is for the Everton supporters though who have backed him through his 10-weeks at the Club.

"I'm 28 years old now and I've played over 100 times for my country, I've also played a lot of league games in different parts of the world. But I've never met a fan-base like this, either playing for them or as an away player," the American explained.

"They've been absolutely incredible and it's hard to imagine that they can be that passionate every time you go out but they care."

The MLS favourite admits it will be difficult to put into words the spirit of the Blues fans when he explains it to his friends and family back in the States.

"I think that we forget in America that our league is only 14 or 15 years old whereas a lot of people here at Everton have been going the games for 30, 40, 50, 60 years, so there's that history and that love for this team and you can see it when you're out on the field.

"It'll be hard to explain.  I was talking to my dad and I was saying that I wished he could have been here against Hull City, just to see the reception after the game, because it was something I've never experienced and I'm not sure I ever will again," he added.  "Moments like that in a career, I'm not sure they come very often.

"Forget about football for a moment, this is a life experience I'll never forget."

Watch evertonTV's exclusive final interview with Landon Donovan from Monday - click here to subscribe.

View images from Landon Donovan's final game - click here.

Download's podcast special with Landon Donovan now - click here.

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