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v Wolfsburg

Thursday 18 September K.O. 20:05

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Exclusive: We Chat With Reyna

Ex-USA star Claudio Reyna on Howard, Donovan and Man City.

Exclusive: We Chat With Reyna

With Landon Donovan in line to make a home debut against Manchester City this weekend, has been speaking to Claudio Reyna.

The American enjoyed a six-year spell playing in England, spending the majority of that period at City.

He's also racked up over 100 caps and has played alongside Donovan and Tim Howard at international level.

Man City Strap

In his final season in England - and his last visit to Goodison - he watched Micah Richards score a 94th minute equaliser as the sides drew 1-1.

We caught up with Claudio to chat about this weekend's game...

What are your memories of playing at Goodison Park?

It's a great stadium. I see these new stadiums coming in, but for older players, it's a bit unfortunate because I don't know if they can replicate the intimacy of some of the older grounds.

At Goodison the fans were right on top of you, though they were quite friendly and it was a fun place to play. At City we had the game where we secured a draw in the last few seconds of the game when Micah Richards scored. That was a good one to come back from. I had a couple of bad games with Sunderland there so I prefer to remember the one with Micah!

Claudio reacts to Richards' late equaliserClaudio reacts to Richards' late equaliser

Do you still watch the Premier League?

Of course, I watch as much as I can. I have four kids so sometimes my weekends are crazy, but I do get to view many games as they are shown quite a bit over here.

I keep an eye on Manchester City, especially of late with everything that's been happening with them. I also see how Sunderland are going, having played there. I watch lots of games but I give a bit of extra attention to Man City.

The last 18 months has been pretty unbelievable; a rollercoaster for everyone involved. I think ultimately the long term possibilities are amazing for the club and for the fans. When I was there you could see it was a club with the potential - like some of the other ones bought by foreign ownership - because of the fan-base, the stadium and their rivalry with Man United.

It is a matter of time before they are battling for titles and cups. It's a pretty amazing turnaround.

Do you see much of Tim Howard and Landon Donovan?

They are a couple of important players. Both Landon and Tim are out-and-out, definitive starters for the US and will play in the first game of the World Cup against England.

It's very interesting for Americans to look at Everton now; they have been following them for a while with Tim being there. Throw Landon in and he's a very important player for the national team so a lot of people want to see how he does. Leading up to the World Cup, they both will want to hit good form.

Reyna trains with Donovan while on USA dutyReyna trains with Donovan while on USA duty

How highly do you rate Tim?

He has been clearly the number one goalie for the US for a number of years now. He's been consistent since he joined Everton, he very, very rarely makes mistakes and - especially in the last couple of years - the amount of big saves he makes is increasing.

Tim is going to be key to our success and you can see he is comfortable with that. He is really good in terms of training well and he's a leader now. He has a big responsibility now. There's a group of players on every team that leads the way and he's without a doubt part of that group. Whether he wears the band or not he's very much a captain within the group. He sets a great example for players coming in to the national team.

What about Landon, he looks like he will bring something extra to Everton?

It was a very good first game. He's a quick player who scores goals and creates goals. In the last few years he's been playing as an outside midfielder, for a while he was more of a forward and now he can work two ways.

It's going to be a great ten weeks for him and he's going to get really good experience playing in some big games. Everton have some injuries so it's worked out that Landon can play straight away. I think he's most effective playing on either side of midfield, with someone who defends well behind him, who can release him to go forward - then he can do really well.

It seems to be his best position because he's really good at running out of the midfield and has the work rate to keep going and he has the eye for the pass as well. He will be really useful for Everton.

Everton's profile in the US is growing after Donovan's switch to Merseyside

Has Everton's profile increased in the US as a consequence?

It can only elevate Everton's viewership and interest in the US, which has been steadily growing over the last few years with Tim being there.

Everybody is going to be looking for the results because on one team we have two key players. I think American fans will be looking to see how they do, to see how much Landon plays and the better he does, the better for the national team.

What's expected of Tim, Landon and US team in the World Cup?

The general view is we hope to get out of our group. I think that is reasonable. England will be a tough opponent but it's a favourable draw - that doesn't mean anything though. Getting out of the group will be a big achievement for us. The England game, the first game, will be exciting. It's probably best that we play them first.

What are you up to now?

I have my foundation which is based around urban soccer academies in low income areas in New York and New Jersey. That's where I live now. I have also started a youth soccer club and I have my family so I am quite busy, but everything is going well.



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