Matthijs de Ligt “didn’t expect” to be benched when Juventus visited Parma. “Naturally I would’ve preferred to play and I didn’t get any clues.”
The 20-year-old completed a transfer worth €85.5m from Ajax this summer, but he watched on from the sidelines at the Stadio Tardini in the 1-0 opening Serie A victory.
“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,” De Ligt told reporters including Dutch paper AD in the mixed zone.
“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.
“I am still getting to grips with the language and I know some football terms, but I want to improve my Italian a great deal. I’m attending a course five times a week and that is going well.”