The 2022/23 Premier League campaign for Leeds United definitely did not go to plan for the club.
Marcelo Bielsa’s time at Elland Road came to an end in February 2022, and then on a managerial front we then pretty quickly cycled through Jesse Marsch, a caretaker spell for Michael Skubala, Javier Gracia and Sam Allardyce before ultimately suffering relegation back to the Championship – there were, of course, off pitch ownership and takeover talks rumbling on in the background as well.
One of the surprising moves on a transfer front though, was the loan capture of Juventus and United States international midfielder Weston McKennie during the January transfer window. McKennie became part of the American contingent at the club under Marsch, joining permanent summer window captures Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson, but Marsch soon moved on himself and McKennie has recently revealed that he was left in a little bit of limbo, especially as he felt that one of the replacements did not even ‘know’ who he was. For those who like a flutter you would have been hard pushed to find those odds available on the GGBET, as it is not a statement a player makes often.
The 25 year old went on to make 17 starts, with three further showings from the substitutes bench in his half a season with us, but speaking recently to The American Dream podcast, whilst he did not namecheck or identify the manager in question, he explained.
“It kind of didn’t help when I got there, I went there because of Jesse Marsch and then two weeks after I got there, he was sacked. I had four different managers in six months and I think one of my coaches honestly didn’t know who I was.”
He went on to say.
“I’m not saying he should but if a player is coming in on loan, you should know your squad. He put me outside of the box for corner kicks, and in my head I’ve scored 85% of my goals in my career off set-pieces and crosses.”
It does not sound like he harbours any bitterness here, it was just a difficult spell that did not really work out for either party and although Marsch would have been very aware of who he was, and what he was capable of, with all the upheaval at the point, gaffers were into plate spinning and none of them actually managed to turn our form around, it is perfectly plausible to presume that given all the tension, and anger around at the point, that said gaffer was naturally probably less invested in McKennie as a loanee, when compared to players contracted up.
Everyone will have their own opinions on whether or not (if that is what happened) was right or wrong. What is not up for debate is we never actually saw the best of McKennie in his short spell with us, and despite showing he is a goal threat from the middle of the park when used right, he failed to register a single goal during his months with us.
Having now returned to Juventus, he has worked himself back into favour at the club and has featured in their four Serie A games so far.
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