Weston McKennie’s former coach at Schalke, Domenico Tedesco, admits the American’s rise to Juventus was “impossible to predict” but he is not surprised to see an ambitious performer turning out for “one of the best teams in the world”.
The 22-year-old midfielder has become a shock summer addition for the Serie A champions.
A season-long loan deal that includes an option to buy has seen the United States international become the first player from his country to represent the Bianconeri.
McKennie admits to living the dream as he prepares to take on a new challenge in Italy, with his stock having risen rapidly since leaving Dallas for Germany in 2016.
Tedesco claims to have never had any doubt that the versatile operator was capable of reaching the very top, but concedes that few could have predicted that a move to Juve would materialise so soon.
A man now working at Spartak Moscow told Tuttosport of McKennie: “Weston is a very ambitious boy.
“When I coached him at Schalke, in 2017-18, he had a clear goal in mind: to play for the best possible club. Juventus is one of the best teams in the world.
“However, a leap of this kind was impossible to predict a year or two ago because everything changes so quickly in football. I am really happy for Weston, I wish him the best for his adventure in Turin.”
McKennie will face fierce competition for places at Juventus, but Tedesco believes the youngster’s ability to cover a number of different positions could work in his favour.
The Italian added: “Weston is very flexible. He can play as a number six or eight. And, if needed, he can also act as a right-back or central defender.
“But I think the best from him is guaranteed by playing at eight, as an all-out midfielder.
“Weston is fast, has good technique and is very good at pressing. He also has great heading ability. But first of all, he has another quality: he never gives up. He is someone who gives 100 per cent in every situation.”
Juventus are due to open their 2020-21 Serie A campaign, under the guidance of new boss Andrea Pirlo, at home to Sampdoria on September 19.