Wednesday, August 10, 2022

‘He’s a humble guy’: McKennie needs to improve, says Juventus boss Pirlo

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Andrea Pirlo says Weston McKennie needs to improve if he is to become a star at Juventus.

The midfielder joined the Serie A squad in August from Schalke on an initial loan which will become permanent at the end of the season.

McKennie, 22, started 14 of the 22 appearances he made for the Italian champions, scoring four goals and recording two assists.

Juve coach Pirlo is happy to have the USA international on his squad, but is aware that he is still developing.

“McKennie is young and has so much room for improvement,” Pirlo said at a press conference. “We were the fastest to sign him and we are happy that he is part of the team.

“He’s a humble guy who always wants to improve, especially at the technical level. He needs to improve when he receives the ball, but he knows that is just a starting point.

Alvaro Morata recently returned to action for Juve after recovering from injury, but has only started three of his last six appearances in all competitions. Pirlo is confident he is in good shape to start against Sampdoria on Saturday.

“I never said Morata was struggling,” he said. “He had a kidnapper problem, but now he’s feeling fine. [On Saturday] he will be at his best. He’s got enthusiasm, he’s calm and we consider him very important for Juventus.

“He will start with Cristiano Ronaldo tomorrow.”

German midfielder Sami Khedira has not played for the Turin Giants this season and is expected to leave before the transfer window ends or his contract expires this season. Pirlo declined to say if a move in January was considered. however.

“We have already talked about him, he has been training with us since the start of the season, let’s see what will happen,” he added.

Juve are seven points behind Serie A leaders AC Milan, although Pirlo’s side have a game in hand. Following the weekend trip to Sampdoria, they will face Inter in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-finals on Tuesday.


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