Weston McKennie is playing through the pain of a “hip problem” at Juventus, Andrea Pirlo has revealed, with the United States international hailed for being “a rock” that “grits his teeth” and gets on with it.
The Bianconeri have needed the 22-year-old midfielder to do just that of late as they endeavour to nurse their way through untimely injury issues.
McKennie has remained a reliable option for the Serie A champions, with the USMNT star further enhancing his reputation during a loan spell in Turin as he puts his body on the line for the good of a collective cause.
What has been said?
Pirlo has told reporters when offering a fitness update on his walking wounded ahead of a clash with Crotone on Monday: “McKennie is also not 100% fit, he has a hip problem, but he is a rock and he grits his teeth because we haven’t got many players available.”
Who is missing for Juventus?
While McKennie continues to put himself in contention, Pirlo is unable to call upon a number of other senior stars.
Paulo Dybala has been absent since January 10 with a knee problem, Arthur is nursing a muscle complaint and Adrien Rabiot is suspended.
There is better news on Aaron Ramsey and Rodrigo Bentancur, who have been struggling with slight knocks, but Pirlo is having to shuffle his pack on a regular basis.
The Juve boss has added: “Dybala is not available yet. He still feels pain in his knee, unfortunately he is not improving. He still has problems, so we have to wait a little bit more. Ramsey is available and it’s good news.
“We miss Arthur, he is the only midfielder with different characteristics, but we have many options to replace him: Ramsey, Bentancur and Fagioli.
“They can adapt to our system, but they don’t have the same characteristics of Arthur. We’ll try to find the best solution.
“Arthur must be assessed day by day. He feels pain and for now he can’t play, there isn’t a recovery time settled, he can’t play until he feels no pain.
“Bentancur is feeling better, he had a slight physical problem this week, but I think he will be available.”
The bigger picture
The Bianconeri could do with having everybody available as they have endured uncharacteristic periods of inconsistency this season.
They have left the defending Italian champions down in sixth spot in the Serie A standings, 11 points adrift of leaders Inter while boasting two games in hand on Antonio Conte’s side.
Juve also have work to do when it comes to their Champions League campaign, with a shock 2-1 defeat suffered at Porto in the first leg of their last-16 showdown.