Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt has admitted he was surprised to be an unused substitute in the team’s Serie A opener against Parma.
Club legends Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci retained their place in the lineup for the 1-0 win, leaving no place for De Ligt, who is yet to make his official debut following his £67.8m move from Ajax this summer.
Speaking to AD after the game, De Ligt confessed he was surprised not to see his name on the team sheet, but he did accept that it was still early in his Juventus career.
He said: “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.
“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.
“I have to earn my place throughout the season. The first five weeks have been tough on a physical level, but I do notice that I’m getting stronger.
“Defensively, the demands are not that different from what I was accustomed to at Ajax, as the Coach wants us to anticipate the movement.
“For me, it’s more a case of getting used to everyday things, such as learning the language. I know the important football terms, but I want to improve considerably. I have a course five times per week, so things are going well.”
It was Chiellini’s first-half goal which ultimately proved the difference between the two sides.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago