MILAN (AP) — American defender Sergiño Dest has joined Italian champion AC Milan in hopes of getting more playing time before the World Cup.
He’s had a rough start.
“American Horror Story, a 45-minute episode” is how Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport described Dest’s Serie A debut, giving him a rating of five out of 10 for his performance in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Napoli. Other newspapers labeled it “a catastrophe” or simply “bad.”
Dest, who joined on loan from Barcelona on transfer deadline day, had played in both of Milan’s Champions League group stage games but made his first Italian league appearance when he replaced Davide Calabria at halftime against Napoli.
He struggled from the start and after less than 10 minutes he committed the penalty that led to the first goal – and Milan’s first loss of the season – when he fouled speedy Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
“Dest is a good player. Just like Kvaratskhelia,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli said. “Calabria also fought against the Georgian.”
Dest, 21, has a Surinamese-American father and a Dutch mother and chose to play for the United States rather than the Netherlands, where he was born and raised. He has scored two goals in 17 games for the national team.
Dest began his career at Ajax before moving to Barcelona two years ago for €21m (then $24.7m), but was unable to establish himself as a regular starter.
He had plenty of minutes in his first season at Barcelona, under manager Ronald Koeman, but then his playing time gradually decreased. However, he had chances under coach Xavi Hernández in the last season of the Europa League, but he didn’t know how to take advantage of them either.
And Dest knew that, with the World Cup approaching in November, he needed to have a permanent place in a team.
United States coach Gregg Berhalter plans to announce his World Cup squad on November 9, five days before the deadline to submit it to FIFA.
Dest is a first-choice right back for the American team and also a substitute left behind Antonee Robinson.
If healthy, Dest looks all but guaranteed to start against Wales in the opening US group match on November 21 – DeAndre Yedlin, Reggie Cannon, Joe Scally are big dropouts by comparison, but you’ll want to get some form with him. abide.
WAITING FOR REUS
Germany faces an anxious wait to see if Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus will be ready in time for the World Cup after a serious-looking ankle injury in the Ruhr derby on Saturday.
Dortmund said Reus, 33, will miss three to four weeks due to a ligament injury in his right ankle. It seems like an optimistic assessment from a club that has rushed players back from injuries too soon in the past: United States midfielder Gio Reyna had repeated setbacks last season.
Reus has only played 48 games for Germany. He missed the team’s World Cup-winning run in 2014 with an ankle injury and Euro 2016 with a groin injury. He played in the World Cup in 2018 but skipped the following European Championship to recover after his season with Dortmund.
Germany coach Hansi Flick has called up Leipzig defender Benjamin Henrichs as a replacement for upcoming matches against Hungary and England.
FROM THOMAS’ ORDEAL
Spanish striker Raúl de Tomás thought his chances of reaching the World Cup were surely over when his transfer from Espanyol to Rayo Vallecano fell through in time.
Due to the delay, he will not be able to play in the league again until January.
But there was a glimmer of hope for De Tomás, 27, after Spain coach Luis Enrique spoke about his situation last week. The coach did not include the player in his latest list for the upcoming Nations League matches, but he did not rule him out for the Qatar tournament either.
“Each case is different,” said Luis Enrique. “Raúl de Tomás has recently been summoned. It is a completely unusual situation. You don’t always see a player who can’t sign for a team at the last minute and has to be out for a few months. We won’t be able to see him play, but I don’t know, we’ll see. It’s hard, but I can’t say any way right now.”
De Tomas, who blamed Espanyol for not making the deal with Rayo Vallecano work, has four appearances for the Spanish team, including two this year.
Union Berlin striker Jordan Pefok has not given up playing for the United States at the World Cup despite his omission from coach Gregg Berhalter’s 26-man roster for warm-up matches against Japan and Saudi Arabia.
Pefok scored the opening goal in a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg on Sunday to help the Union stay top of the Bundesliga.
“Who doesn’t expect to play in the World Cup when their country is qualified?” the French-speaking Pefok asked after the game.
“The coach decides. Me, I play the games with happiness, I keep trying to do my best,” Pefok said. “Later, as we say in France, it is at the end of the dance that we pay the musicians”.
AP sportswriters Ciarán Fahey in Berlin and Tales Azzoni in Madrid contributed to this report.
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