Matthijs de Ligt admits he did not expect to be on the bench for Juventus’ opening match of the new Serie A season at Parma on Saturday. The Dutch international was a high-profile arrival at the Allianz Stadium during the summer as he joined from Ajax for a reported €85.5million, but he was only including among the substitutes as the Old Lady opened their campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 win at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.
Indeed, the 20-year-old was not even brought on by the Juve coaching team, who were being led by assistant boss Giovanni Martusciello due to coach Maurizio Sarri being unavailable as he continues his recovery following treatment for pneumonia.
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The more experienced Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini were preferred at the heart of the Juve defence and de Ligt admits he can have no complaints about not playing, although he was surprised not to be included in the starting XI. “Naturally, I would’ve preferred to play and I didn’t get any clues from training, so I didn’t expect to be on the bench,” De Ligt told reporters.
“Obviously, I respect the decision of the Coach. I must be realistic, as I am still settling in here in Italy. The defenders who played, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, were considered for a long time to be the best centre-back partnership in the world.”
De Ligt could now make his competitive debut when Juventus welcome Napoli to Turin for next week’s heavyweight contest in Serie A, although he admits he must first earn his place. “I have to earn my place throughout the season,” he added. “The first five weeks have been tough on a physical level, but I do notice that I’m getting stronger.”11 BUSINESS NUGGETS FROM SUPER EAGLES BRONZE MEDAL TRIUMPH. The content of this ebook will propel you above your competition. Buy NOW!!!