MILAN (AP) – United States defender Sergiño Dest has joined Italian champions AC Milan in hopes of getting more playing time ahead of the World Cup.
He’s off to a tough start.
Dest’s Serie A debut was “American Horror Story, a 45-minute episode,” as Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport described it, rating him five out of 10 for his performance in Sunday’s 2-1 loss for Naples. Other newspapers called it a “disaster” or simply “bad”.
Dest, who arrived on loan from Barcelona on transfer deadline day, played in both of Milan’s Champions League group games but made his first appearance in the Italian league when he came on as a half-time substitute for Davide Calabria against Naples.
He struggled from the start and after less than 10 minutes he gave away the penalty that led to the opening goal – and Milan’s first defeat of the season – when he tripped Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
“Dest is a good player. As is Kvaratskhelia,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli said. “Calabria also struggled against the Georgians.”
The 21-year-old Dest has a Surinamese-American father and a Dutch mother and chose to play for the United States instead of 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 21 million euros ($24.7 million then) but was unable to establish himself as a regular starter.
He had plenty of minutes in his first season in Barcelona, under coach Ronald Koeman, but his playing time gradually decreased. However, he had chances under coach Xavi Hernández in the Europa League last season but was also unable to take advantage of them.
And Dest knew, with the World Cup approaching in November, that he had to have a regular place in the 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 Team America’s first-choice right back and left back behind Antonee Robinson as well.
If healthy, Dest looks almost certain to start against Great Britain in the Americans’ opening group game on November 21 – DeAndre Yedlin, Reggie Cannon, Joe Scally are big players by comparison – but he will ask to take some form with it. to Qatar.
WAITING FOR REUS
Germany are waiting anxiously to see if Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus will be ready in time for the World Cup after sustaining an ankle injury that had him in the Ruhr derby on Saturday.
Dortmund said 33-year-old Reus will miss three to four weeks with a ligament injury in his right ankle. It seems an optimistic assessment from a club that has managed to injure players too early in the past – United States midfielder Gio Reyna struggled repeatedly last season.
Reus has only played 48 games for Germany. He missed the team’s World Cup win in 2014 with an ankle injury and Euro 2016 with a groin injury. He played at the World Cup in 2018 but failed to win the next European Championship after his season with Dortmund.
Germany coach Hansi Flick has called up Leipzig defender Benjamin Henrichs as a substitute for the upcoming matches against Hungary and England.
ORDER OF THOMAS
Spain striker Raúl de Tomás thought his chances of reaching the World Cup were definitely over when his move from Espanyol to Rayo Vallecano was not over.
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 the 27-year-old Tomás after Spain coach Luis Enrique spoke about his situation last week. The coach did not add the player to his latest list for the upcoming Nations League games, but he also did not rule him out for the tournament in Qatar.
“Every situation is different,” said Luis Enrique. “Raúl de Tomás was called up recently. It is a completely unusual situation. It’s not often you see a player who can’t sign for a team at the last minute and has to be on the sidelines for a few months. We won’t be able to see him play, but I don’t know, we’ll see. It’s difficult, but I can’t say any way at the moment.”
De Tomás, who blamed Espanyol for not doing the deal with Rayo Vallecano, has made four appearances for the Spanish national team, including two this year.
Union Berlin player Jordan Pefok has not ruled out playing for the United States at the World Cup despite being omitted from coach Gregg Berhalter’s 26-man roster for warm-up games against Japan and Saudi Arabia.
Pefok scored the opening goal in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Wolfsburg to help the Union stay top of the Bundesliga.
“Who doesn’t expect to play at the World Cup when their country qualifies?” 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,” said Pefok. “After that, as we say in France, we pay the musicians at the end of the ball.”
AP Sports Writers Ciarán Fahey in Berlin and Tales Azzoni in Madrid contributed to this report.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports