The Italian says that the American has worked to improve his physical condition and mentality since his move to Turin
McKennie joined Juve on an initial season-long loan from Schalke last summer, and impressed enough in the first half of the 2020-21 campaign to earn a permanent contract at the Allianz Stadium.
The Bianconeri invested €18.5 million (£16m/$23m) in the 22-year-old’s talents, and he is now a key member of Pirlo’s squad, but the Italian says he was a long way from the finished article after leaving Germany.
What’s been said?
“He has lost weight: something we put in his head,” Pirlo told a press conference ahead of Juve’s Serie A clash with arch-rivals AC Milan on Sunday.
“He is concentrated, and he is more professional than when he arrived. He must be 100 per cent and not 50%”
McKennie’s record at Juve
McKennie has already racked up 41 appearances across all competitions for Juve in his first full season, including 30 in Serie A.
The United States international has contributed six goals and two assists to their cause to date, and could pick up his maiden piece of silverware when Pirlo’s side take on Atalanta in the Coppa Italia final on May 19.
What else did Pirlo say?
Pirlo went on to address rumours that Juve are planning to launch a summer bid for Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who is set to become a free agent at the end of June.
The Bianconeri boss refused to be drawn on a potential transfer swoop, but did describe the Italy number one as one of the top shot-stoppers in European football.
“It’s not my problem, he’s a Milan player and it’s their problem,” said Pirlo.
“I consider him to be one of the best five goalkeepers in the world, he’s an exemplary professional and congratulations on what he’s doing.”