”I didn’t expect to be benched, but I respect the decision” – De Ligt

Matthijs de Ligt has admitted he was surprised to be among Juventus’ substitutes, for their league opener at Parma on Saturday night.

The Dutch defender, who moved from Ajax in a £67.8million deal, was forced to watch on as Maurizio Sarri’s men claimed a 1-0 victory.

Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini were picked to start the game in central defence and it was Chiellini who netted the winner.

De Ligt told Dutch publication AD: “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.

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“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.”

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