With Christian Pulisic now on his way to Chelsea, Weston McKennie is the face U.S. Men’s National Team fans should be watching in the German Bundesliga. Not only is McKennie a rising star for Schalke, he is becoming known on the national stage.
Since making his senior debut for Schalke in 2017, McKennie has totaled 56 first-team appearances for the club and played a variety of positions. McKennie will work under new head coach David Wagner this season as the German-American returns to the club he used to play for. With longtime captain Ralf Fahrmann leaving this summer, the captaincy is up for grabs and McKennie is not being shy about possibly being named captain of the club.
“I’d be ready, I’m used to taking on responsibility,” McKennie said in an interview with Kicker. “Whether it’s captain of vice-captain, of course I’d take it on. “Benjamin Stambouli and Daniel Caligiuri would also do a fantastic job, and there are others as well. Whoever gets it will be ready.”
McKennie recently wore the captain’s armband for the USMNT this summer at the Concacaf Gold Cup, while starring for Gregg Berhalter’s team. The 20-year-old played alongside former Bundesliga star Pulisic, working well with the current Chelsea player.
Although he was used as a right back, center back and even a second forward at times last season, McKennie is expected to return to midfield under Wagner. His versatility could be used against different opponents or formations, but the former FC Dallas academy product understands where he can truly help the team most.
“I’ve already shown that I can play in almost every position,” McKennie said. “If I play as a No. 6 or a No. 8, I’m central and have a complete grip on the game: what’s behind me, in front of me and either side of me. I think that’s where my qualities are put to best use.”
McKennie, who is under contract with Schalke until 2024, recently arrived at preseason camp after an extended break due to international duty.
Schalke opens domestic play against Drochtersen/Assel on Aug. 10th in German Cup play before traveling to Borussia Monchengladbach for their Bundesliga opener a week later.