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SOCCER

Weston McKennie opens up on his time at Leeds and sets Juventus objective for the season

The USMNT midfielder spoke about his time in the Premier League last year and set his goals for the current season.

Update:
El equipo que casi ficha a McKennie antes de su llegada al Leeds United
OLI SCARFFAFP

Weston McKennie has opened up on his time as a Leeds United player in the Premier League, saying that he “didn’t have the best performances” and that he “felt [he] let certain people down.

The USMNT midfielder moved from Juventus to Leeds United in the January 2023 transfer window and a lot of the club’s hopes in the second half of the season were pinned on the player with Champions League and World Cup experience. However, McKennie failed to perform and was negatively received by the fans who did not see the full impact of the 25-year-old in England.

McKennie ‘having a good season’ says Juventus manager

Now back at Juventus, McKennie said it feels “nice to come back” to Italy and his manager, Massimiliano Allegri has commented that the player “having a good season”. McKennie played 19 times for Leeds following his move from Juventus, where he didn’t manage to score once and was unable to stop the club suffering relegation along with USMNT teammates Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson.

Despite the relegation with Leeds United, McKennie said that he can see the value in the experience of returning to the Italian side: “at the end of the day, when I came back, I think it was important for me in general to have an experience like that, to have that happen to me at this moment of my career, because when I came back it felt like I was coming back here for the first time again.

McKennie has performed well for Juventus this season from right-back.
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McKennie has performed well for Juventus this season from right-back.ALESSANDRO DI MARCOEFE

‘When I first came to Juventus, everybody was against me’

McKennie continued, saying that “when I first came to Juventus, nobody knew who I was, everybody doubted me, everybody was against me, and I think it was important for me because it put chips back on my shoulder. That’s when I perform best and prove that I can do it and that I belong, so it was nice to come back and have that feeling again.”

The ex-Schalke player has made 10 starts from 12 games so far with Juventus currently sitting second in the league, just two points behind leaders Inter, who they play at the weekend. The “Scudetto [is] in our sights”, says McKennie, who added that “it’s too early to say at this point in the season... Juventus is ready for this challenge, to try and win”.

McKennie suffered an injury during the CONCACAF Nations League first-leg win against Trinidad & Tobago (they lost the second leg without him). He returned to Italy to begin his treatment with the USMNT saying in an official statement that he “departed camp to recover from an aggravated left knee tendinopothy”.

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