The coach says he expects the midfielder to remain part of the team’s plans this week despite his problems
American men’s team coach Gregg Berhalter explains the decision to send Weston McKennie home before the group’s trip to Honduras, while explaining that the midfielder has a future despite his recent incident.
McKennie dismissed for ‘team policy violation’ related to an incident involving the Covid protocol ESPN reporting that McKennie spent a night outside the USMNT’s bubble before inviting a guest to the bubble at a separate event.
The Juventus midfielder missed the USMNT’s 1-1 draw with Canada and will visit Honduras on Wednesday, but Berhalter says McKennie will return to the team at some point.
What was said?
‘I think if you talk about team policy and team rules and what we want to achieve as a team,’ Berhalter told reporters, ‘the team comes absolutely first, and we made this decision, not only in the short term, but also for the long-term health of the program.
“And it’s not an easy decision. Trust me. Countless coaches are faced with decisions where for some reason they have to pick talented players from the series, but we did it for what we think is the best of the group and the team.
“That’s what it is. We’re going to miss Weston on Wednesday, of course, but that does not exclude him for the future, but we know we are without him on Wednesday.”
When asked to elaborate on McKennie’s future with the program, Berhalter continued: “If you looked at the movements we made, how we spoke to people. It’s an open door policy.
“There will rarely be a situation where a player would never be allowed in the national team again. That’s not how we work. If you look at the performance history, it’s the way guys determine their performance and their performance. .
“Weston and I had long conversations. He’s a guy I care about a lot. He’s a big part of the team and I’m sure if he performs well, he’s going to be in the team again.”
Replacements in the middle
With McKennie out, the US still has several midfield options to start the Honduras race.
Berhalter turns to Tyler Adams, Kellyn Acosta and Sebastian Lletget in midfield against Canada, while Brenden Aaronson can start centrally after playing on the wing in that game.
Cristian Roldan is also in the U.S. squad while Jackson Yueill was added to the squad following McKennie’s departure.