Is Weston McKennie playing at the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup?
The United States men's national team get their 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign underway on 11 July.
Weston McKennie is one of a number of Europe-based stars who have been left out of the United States men’s national team’s squad for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, with USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter keen for the Juventus player to get some rest following a gruelling season.
USMNT boss Berhalter: "These guys need a break"
McKennie, who made 46 appearances for Juve during a compressed 2020/21 campaign, was joined by the likes of Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic and Barcelona’s Sergiño Dest in being omitted from the US’ 59-man preliminary Gold Cup roster, which was announced on 18 June. Berhalter has until 10 days before the tournament’s 10 July start to name a final squad of 23.
Having joined Juve from Schalke last summer, initially on loan, McKennie scored six times for the Bianconeri as they won the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana but saw their nine-year reign as Serie A champions ended by Inter Milan.
The midfielder, 22, then played his part in the USMNT’s CONCACAF Nations League finals campaign earlier in June, scoring in his side’s 3-2 victory over Mexico in the trophy decider.
However, Berhalter had warned that, with European clubs returning for pre-season in July, players like Pulisic, Dest and McKennie would need to recharge their batteries and would struggle to fit in both the Nations League and the Gold Cup. “These guys need a break, so I can imagine them playing one of those tournaments and then getting rest,” he told Extratime in February.
Mostly MLS players in USMNT's 2021 Gold Cup group
Berhalter has instead picked a preliminary Gold Cup squad comprised largely of Major League Soccer players, who enjoyed an offseason break earlier in 2021. You can check out the USMNT’s roster here.
Drawn in Group B, the Stars and Stripes begin their Gold Cup campaign on 11 July against a preliminary-round qualifier (one of Haiti, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Bermuda and Barbados). They then face Martinique on 15 July and Canada on 18 July.