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By ESPN Staff

Donovan to talk to Beckham about criticism

Landon Donovan isn't backing down from what he said about David Beckham's performance as a teammate last season with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

But the U.S. national team star does regret that he didn't go to Beckham with his concerns first, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"I'm not going to apologize for the way I felt," Donovan said, according to the Times. "What I feel badly about is that I should have been a man and told David how I felt as opposed to telling a reporter."

In Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl's new book, "The Beckham Experiment," due to be released Tuesday, Donovan was quoted as questioning Beckham's effort and commitment to the team.

"Does the fact that he earns that much more money come into it? Yeah. If someone's paying you more than anybody in the league, more than double anybody in the league, the least we expect is that you show up to every game, whether you are suspended or not," Donovan was quoted as saying in the book. "Show up and train hard, show up and play hard."

"He's not shown [he's a good teammate]," Donovan added, according to the book. "I can't think of another guy where I'd say he wasn't a good teammate, he didn't give everything through all this, he didn't still care. But with [Beckham], I'd say no, he wasn't committed."

Donovan told the Times on Wednesday he would address those concerns with Beckham in person.

"David and I will sit down when he gets back and just talk it through," he said, according to the Times. "What you don't get from reading a few excerpts and what you do get from reading the whole book is that we all want David to be here. We all want him to succeed, and he wants to succeed.

"Something happened at some point last year where a switch went off, and that's what I want to talk to him about, and we'll figure that out man to man."

Bruce Arena, who coaches both men with the Galaxy, said he believes Donovan has learned from the experience.

"Landon's going to grow from this controversy and these comments in this book," Arena said, according to the Times. "He's going to grow to be a stronger captain for our team, a stronger person."

In the book, Los Angeles, which failed to make the playoffs in each of Beckham's first two seasons, is portrayed as a team beset by management infighting involving Anschutz Entertainment Group chief executive officer Tim Leiweke, former president and general manager Alexi Lalas, coaches Frank Yallop and Ruud Gullit, and Beckham personal manager Terry Byrne.

Donovan said Lalas, a former U.S. national team star who was fired by the Galaxy last August, was "in over his head" and "trying to do too much." Wahl says that under Gullit, the Galaxy failed to devote a single practice to set pieces during the 2008 preseason, even though set pieces are Beckham's specialty.

Lalas, according to the book, overrode a media vote in favor of Donovan as the team's MVP in 2007, giving the award to Chris Klein. Donovan found out and argued, saying it cost him a $25,000 bonus.

"Landon got his money because he cried, but I still looked him in the eye and said: 'I don't personally believe you're the MVP,'" Lalas is quoted as saying.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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