Matthijs de Ligt Surprised to Be Benched for Juventus’ Serie A Opener

​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.

Matthjs De Ligt

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 to 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.”

Giorgio Chiellini,Leonardo Bonucci

It was Chiellini’s first-half goal which ultimately proved the difference between the two sides, and the Italian will certainly believe he did enough to earn a place in the next starting lineup, meaning De Ligt could remain on the bench for the visit of ​Napoli on Saturday.

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