Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie has left the US national team in disgrace and returned to Italy, after reportedly breaking Covid protocols.
McKennie was part of the team that kicked off the World Cup qualifiers with a 0-0 draw against El Salvador last Friday, as the team look to rectify the mistakes of four years ago when they failed to reach the 2018 finals.
On Monday however, McKennie was left out of the 23 man squad for the 1-1 draw with Canada and it was later confirmed he’d been sent home from the squad.
“Weston will return to Italy and will be unavailable for the match against Honduras due to a violation of team policy,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said of Wednesday night’s game.
“There are high expectations for those who are a part of the U.S. Men’s National Team, and in order to be successful it’s important that everyone in the group is accountable.”
Whilst there was no confirmation of what it was exactly the 23-year-old midfielder did, former US captain Landon Donovan did confirm that it was a breach of Covid rules.
As well as hinting at the nature of what McKennie did, the LA Galaxy legend didn’t hold back with what he thought about the midfielder’s actions.
“It is almost beyond repair, and he has a lot of work to do with his team-mates to make sure that he never does something like that again because you lose trust in your team-mates,” the 39-year-old told Grant Wahl on the Futbol podcast.
“I am I am privy to what happened I’m not going to announce that publicly.
“I will just say, I am incredibly disappointed in Weston, incredibly disappointed. Look, I can understand Juventus during a long club season, you’re sitting at home for months and months and months and you want to have people over. Is it the smartest thing to do? No, but I get it.
“This is one week of your life with three massive games, not only for yourself but for your team-mates and your country and the level of selfishness is beyond me. He is old enough to know you don’t put yourself in this situation. Would they win the game if he is on the field? I don’t know but their chances would go up a lot.
“It doesn’t mean he is a horrible human being and he can learn from this but this can never, ever, ever happen again.”
McKennie took to his Instagram story ahead of Sunday’s game to confirm his suspension and said he was ‘sorry for his actions.’
Whilst there is a long time left in qualifying, Berhalter’s side can’t afford too many more dropped points, having dropped four in the opening two games, and face a repeat of their previous qualifying campaign.
USA didn’t make it to the tournament in Russia three years ago, after suffering an embarrassing defeat to Trinidad and Tobago in the final group game, and missing out even on the play off.
McKennie’s suspension certainly won’t help them.