United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called Landon Donovan's return to soccer "pretty cool," and backed the LA Galaxy to bring the former U.S. captain back to fitness in a responsible way.
Donovan, 34, made his first appearance for nearly two years in the Galaxy's 4-2 defeat of Orlando City on Sunday, coming on as an 83rd-minute substitute with the match well in hand.
The all-time leading scorer in MLS and for the national team had announced the end of his retirement last Thursday in hopes of helping the injury-riddled Galaxy with their end-of-season playoff push.
Speaking in a live question and answer session on his Facebook page, Klinsmann, who famously didn't include a healthy Donovan on the U.S.'s 2014 World Cup squad, couldn't avoid questions about the former Everton star.
"I'm not surprised to see a lot of questions about Landon Donovan," Klinsmann said. "I think it's pretty cool that Landon is back on the field. He just wants to give it another shot.
"So obviously he's been gone for quite a while, coming back is not going to be easy for him, but with the experience of Bruce Arena at the Galaxy I'm sure that they're going to time him the right way and build him the right way towards the playoffs.
"There's no better thing in life than kicking the ball around, then playing. Every time a player kind of comes to me and asks, 'When is the right moment to stop? What should I do?' I always tell them 'Go as long as you can, because these days when you played the game are not coming back anymore, so as long as your body is going strong, keep playing.'
"I think it's pretty cool that Landon is back."
After coming on Sunday, Donovan admitted he still has a ways to go before he can help the team.
"I'm so far away," Donovan said after the match. "I came into a game where both teams were exhausted, and I was the slowest player on the field.
"I need to get myself ready to compete in a real way. Bruce and the coaching staff need to know what when they put me in, it can mean something. So tonight worked out well, but I need to be able to contribute.
"I think I had much more impact today in the locker room and helping out a few guys at halftime than I did on the field.
"If that's the way I contribute, that's great."