Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo has raised plenty of eyebrows with his comments on USMNT star Weston McKennie.
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The Juve manager was asked if McKennie, 22, would play for them against AC Milan on Sunday in a huge game in Serie A.
Juve currently sit in fourth place but are only above fifth-place Milan on goal difference as they are locked in an intense battle to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season.
Asked by reporters if McKennie could start, here was Pirlo’s slightly strange response.
What did Pirlo say?
“He has a chance of starting. He has lost weight and that’s something we had to drill into his mindset. Now he is concentrated and more professional compared to when he arrived. He has to be professional at 100 per cent, not 50 per cent,” Pirlo said.
Pirlo isn’t a man to mince his words and he is very straight to the point. But this seems to be over the top.
McKennie arrived from Schalke last summer, initially on loan, and his impressive performances led to Juventus signing him on a permanent basis for $30 million in March.
But Pirlo obviously wasn’t too impressed with McKennie’s professionalism and he will not have been impressed with the USMNT midfielder being caught up in breaking COVID-19 restrictions as he was cautioned for being at a party along with Paulo Dybala and Arthur a few months ago.
Everyone connected with the USMNT raves about McKennie and how he is the heart and soul of Gregg Berhalter’s young squad on and off the pitch.
That makes these comments more surprising as the FC Dallas product always seems like the kind of player who works harder than anybody else and pushes the entire team to reach new levels.
McKennie’s personality is cheeky and he loves to joke around and make his teammates feel relaxed, but perhaps Pirlo and the other Juventus coaches will add something a little extra to his game.
Still, coming out and saying this so publicly is a little disappointing from Pirlo.