Donovan key to US chances, says Howard

Tim Howard believes Landon Donovan is crucial to the United States' chances of progressing out of Group G at the FIFA World Cup.

Jurgen Klinsmann's team have been handed a difficult draw, grouped with Germany, Portugal and Ghana for the upcoming finals in Brazil.

The showpiece event will also be Donovan's fourth World Cup, having helped the US qualify past the group stage on two of the three previous occasions.

And goalkeeper Howard is counting on the vastly experienced attacker - who has 156 international caps - to lead the team to yet another knockout-round appearance this time around.

"For me it's a very easy equation," Howard said of Donovan at the nation's training camp at Stanford University. "If Landon's (Donovan) on the field he's in our top one or two players.

"That's just my opinion, whether that means anything I don't know.

"But Landon's humble and I'm sure he feels that way but for me he's easily one of our best players and he strikes fear in opponents."

Donovan is also relishing the competition for places as the team ramps up preparations for their opening game against Ghana in Natal on June 16.

"This brings the best out of everyone because every day guys are fighting for a chance to play in a World Cup and you never know when you get that chance again," he said.

"So it's made it very challenging but I think a lot of fun. The beauty is the guys all get along very well and when we go on the field we compete and then afterwards we're in the hotel hanging out and we're friends again so it's been enjoyable."