Juve’s McKennie excited for USMNT stars in Europe

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Juventus midfielder and United States international Weston McKennie said he is excited to be part of a new generation of U.S. players that are part of some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

McKennie made the surprise move to the Italian champions from Bundesliga side Schalke 04 in the summer and so far has started two matches for Juve this season.

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“It’s exciting to be part of the new generation,” McKennie told ESPN. “You have a team that is getting the exposure and experience of playing day-in and day-out with the best players in the world.”

Along with players like Christian Pulisic at Chelsea and Sergino Dest at Barcelona, McKennie is part of a crop of USMNT players breaking through in Europe’s top echelon. McKennie said an added benefit is that they can compare what it is like to practice against the best players in the world.

“I play with Cristiano Ronaldo and players want to know what he is like, and Sergino plays with Lionel Messi and maybe I want know what’s he is like,” said McKennie.

The U.S. team have not played since Janurary due to the coronavirus pandemic and are not in action during the current international break, but McKennie hopes that he’ll be able to join up with his American teammates soon enough.

“It is exciting and I can’t wait for November [at the next international break] if we are able proceed with a camp,” the Texas native added.

Juventus were set to host Napoli on Sunday but the game was canceled after the visitors were not allowed to travel following two staffers testing positive for the coronavirus. Juve was awarded a 3-0 win via forfeit.

McKennie and his Juve teammates have also remained in isolation this week, which he said has given him time to bond with his teammates and continue to learn from manager Andrea Pirlo.

“It has been very intriguting to come to Juventus, [Pirlo] was one of the best at his position in the game, similar to the position I play,” McKennie said. “I knew I’d be able to learn so much from him being my coach.

“He plays with us sometimes, he looks so elegant and nonchalant, but you can’t take the ball from him.”

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