US men’s national team legend Landon Donovan has criticised Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie, saying he is “incredibly disappointed” in the young player.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED?
McKennie, 23, was left out of the team for the 1-1 draw against Canada and after the game manager Gregg Berhalter said that he had been removed from the squad entirely.
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"Weston will return to Italy and will be unavailable for the match against Honduras due to a violation of team policy,” said Berhalter.
“There are high expectations for those who are a part of the U.S. Men’s National Team, and in order to be successful it’s important that everyone in the group is accountable."
The Juventus man was replaced by San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Jackson Yueill.
WHAT DID DONOVAN SAY?
Donovan, the joint-highest scorer for the US men’s team, went on Grant Wahl’s podcast Futbol with Grant Wahl
and said that whilst he was aware of the full details of the incident he wouldn’t discuss them publicly.
"I will just say I am privy to what happened. I'm not going to announce that publicly," Donovan said. "I will just say that I am incredibly disappointed in Weston, incredibly disappointed. Look, I can understand being at Juventus during a long club season, you're sitting at home for months and months and months and you want to have people over. Is it the smartest thing to do? No, but I get it.
"This is one week of your life with three massive games, not only for yourself but for your teammates and for your country to go to a World Cup and the level of selfishness in that moment is beyond me. Honestly, it's beyond me.
"I've made a lot of dumb mistakes in my life I get it. I'm not here to be all righteous, and he is young, yes, but he's old enough to understand that you don't do this. You don't need to put yourself in this situation and worse, put your team in that situation.
"Would they have won the game if he's on the field yesterday? I don't know, but their chances went up a lot, I promise. If he was on the field then their chances of winning or getting a point against Honduras go up a ton on Wednesday if he's in the lineup.
"I am just really disappointed with him. It doesn't mean you write him off and he's a horrible human being. He needs to learn from this, but this can never ever happen again.
"It is almost beyond repair and he has a lot of work to do with his teammates to make sure that he never does something like that again because you lose trust in your teammates. This is their livelihood. These guys want to go to a World Cup. Christian [Pulisic] knows what it feels like to sit on the field in Trinidad, crying because he didn't go to a World Cup, and you can't put your team in that situation."
HAS MCKENNIE SAID ANYTHING?
McKennie apologised on his Instagram after he was suspended but before Donovan’s comments.
"I am sorry for my actions, I will be cheering hard for the boys tonight and hope to be back with the team soon," he wrote.
VIEW FROM ITALY
We asked our colleague from Eurosport Italy, Samuele Ragusa about McKennie’s situation with Juventus.
“McKennie's situation became a bit strange in the last months: during the previous season - with Pirlo on Juventus' bench - he was one of the most important midfielders of the team, maybe the most important one.
“He scored a lot, he was able to create Pirlo's game and absorbed whatever Italian football required.
“But what happened in this new season?
“The idea of football of Allegri is very different from Pirlo's one, he came back and revolutionised all the midfield hierarchies: Bentancur again at the centre of the project, McKennie not essential and - because of this - ready to be sold.
“Juventus failed to do this - and replace him with another type of midfielder like Tchouaméni, for example - so McKennie is now relegated at the end of Allegri's choices: what he can do is to play his best football in that few minutes that the coach will grant to him, both in Champions League and in Serie A.”
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