The untold story of Weston McKennie

This season has not been a normal one at all, Covid-19 has made a lot of changes to different aspects of football, and Juventus have been no exception. One of the aspects that have been affected in this bizarre season is the way of managing the young new arrivals to the team.


Last year, Juventus didn't use Merih Demiral in the first months and gave a very limited playing time to the Turkish international. If it wasn't for Chiellini's injury Matthijs de Ligt 's case was supposed to be similar. De Ligt’s agent Mino Raiola and then-Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri both admitted that Juventus' plan was not to start de Ligt from start of the season but to insert him in to the starting eleven slowly, but Chiellini's injury had changed their plan.


Prior to Sarri, Massimiliano Allegri was also very cautious about playing the young new arrivals. During Max Allegri's tenure, new players used to come on as substitutes a the first weeks then after a few weeks they could start on a regular basis.

This season due to the tight schedule and many players leaving the club, Juve have been forced to immediately inject most of their new signings into the team, and Weston Mckennie was one of those new signings.


Usually when a player, most often the young ones, joins a team in a new league and goes to a new country, that change of the living environment alone is a big challenge for him and getting used to it takes time, let alone adopting to the new tactical atmosphere of the game in the new league, specially Serie A which has always been considered the most tactical league in the world.


For example Kai Havertz, the most expensive signing of the season who like McKennie changed Bundesliga for a big club in a new league is yet to adopt. Another example is Matthijs de Ligt —Europe's best talent, winner of the France Football's Raymond Copa award and Tuttosport's Golden Boy, who before joining Juventus commanded Ajax, the biggest team of Netherlands, to the semi-finals of the Champions League — when he, as stated above was forced to start playing earlier than planned, for the fist few weeks he wasn't able to show his capabilities and had a shaky performance due to lack of understanding of his new league, the pressure of playing for a gigantic international club and adopting to life in anther country.

But unlike most of the players, Weston McKennie didn't need any adoption phase, he was ready from the very begging. In his first game for Juventus in the first week of Serie A, McKennie was everywhere on the pitch, playing a key role in both Juventus' attack and defense, showing his qualities and character. Another insane fact is that McKennie very soon got infected by Corona virus, but even Corona virus was unable to cut his form off.


It was in the first week of December that McKennie's contribution went to a whole new level. He first scored Juventus' equalizer in an always critical Turin derby then scored a super goal at the Camp Nou vs Barcelona.

Prior to the start of the season, Italian newspapers in their analysis had described McKennie as a physical player who could help Juve in defense and pressing, with a limited attacking ability and technique but before even reaching January, McKennie has proven all the critics wrong, that his game isn’t limited in ball recovery, pressing and interceptions as he also can help Juventus both in creating opportunities and in scoring goals too.


The American international has already scored 2 goals, more than any other midfielder in his team. Although he has only one assist to his name, by creating 5 big scoring chances he has put his teammates in the scoring position more than any other Bianconero midfielder so far in Serie A, in the whole Juventus squad only Alvaro Morata has done a better job by creating 7 big scoring chances.


When Juventus bought McKennie on loan, many assumed it's just a short term solution for filling the squad gap in midfield, and at the end of the season he would have to go back to Schalke, like what happend to Benedikt Howedes who also came to Juventus on loan from Schalke. But now, everyone is talking about how Juventus made one of the best deals of the summer by buying McKennie for a total of only €25M, as he is both praised by the critics and loved by the fans.


And this is only the beginning for the Big Mac.


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