Landon Donovan has taken a step closer to returning to World Cup consideration, after he was confirmed in Jürgen Klinsmann's 23-man squad for next month's biennial Concacaf Gold Cup. The forward is joined by Philadelphia Union's prolific young striker Jack McInerney and Bolton's Stuart Holden, who is continuing his comeback from injury.

Donovan was a notable omission from the USA squad for the latest round of World Cup qualification, fueling speculation that he had burned his bridges with the US national team by choosing to take a high-profile sabbatical that ran into the start of the season. In his absence, Sporting Kansas City's Graham Zusi deputised ably and the US took maximum points from their most recent three qualifiers. Klinsmann had acknowledged that the incumbent players were there on merit and with Donovan taking time to get back up to speed with the LA Galaxy, the window looked to be closing on his chances of making a fourth World Cup.

But the Gold Cup was always likely to be significant for next year's squad selection and a player of Donovan's caliber is rare in the current US scene, so there were was a sense that there he would be given another opportunity. So it has proved. It should suit both parties. Donovan has a possible route to Brazil and Klinsmann has demonstrated that there are no automatic spots in the squad.

Elsewhere, the attention is largely focused on who might make a late run for a World Cup place – the selection of McInerney is an intriguing one. McInerney is a classic poacher who heads the MLS goalscoring standings this year, rather eclipsing his soon to be squad-mate Chris Wondolowski, last year's Golden Boot winner. Hercules Gomez, the Santos Laguna player who contributed strongly during Jozy Altidore's struggles last season, is also in the reckoning, as is the big Houston forward Will Bruin.

A lot of eyes will be on Holden. The midfielder's long struggle with injury looks to be over and after cameo appearances in the recent qualifiers this should be the moment when he demonstrates his potential. There is an opportunity too for three MLS goalkeepers. The talented Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson will hope to push the veteran Nick Rimando and demonstrate their long-term claims for the jersey.

Rimando's Real Salt Lake team-mate Kyle Beckerman – who has bubbled under over the last year or so, as Klinsmann has experimented with defensive midfield combinations – also gets a call up and is the only MLS-based midfielder. A third RSL player, Tony Beltran, who was in the January team camp, is called up in defense. RSL lead the Supporters Shield race and so will have mixed feelings about Gold Cup selections robbing them of key players. Houston Dynamo have fallen away sharply in recent weeks, as they cope with a raft of international absences. They will only lose Bruin and the defender Corey Ashe to the Gold Cup.

The squad includes experience in defence, from the likes of Oguchi Onyewu and DaMarcus Beasley, while Beasley's Puebla team-mate Michael Orozco Fiscal, who scored the winner against Mexico in last year's first ever US win at the Azteca, also makes the squad.

The US kick off with a warm-up against Guatemala in San Diego next Friday, before their first Gold Cup game against Belize in Portland the following Tuesday. The Guardian will have full minute-by-minute coverage of the US games.

USA Gold Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (DC United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake). Defenders: Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Oguchi Onyewu (Malaga), Michael Orozco Fiscal (Puebla), Michael Parkhurst (FC Augsburg). Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Helsingborgs), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Joshua Gatt (Molde FK), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Jose Torres (Tigres). Forwards: Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Club Tijuana), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)