Gio Reyna was on the verge of being sent home at the World Cup

Giovanni Reyna played just 51 minutes at the World Cup and the reason may have been disciplinary issues, according to reports emerging today.

The US international made his World Cup debut as a substitute in the 83rd minute against England and was then introduced in the 46th minute against The Netherlands. According to Kicker, Reyna was on the verge of being sent home by US coach Gregg Berhalter.

In a speech he gave in New York last week, the US coach stated that there had been so many problems with a member of the squad in Qatar that he had almost been sent home. Without confirming the name of the player, Berhalter said: “We were ready to book a plane ticket home for him, that’s how extreme it was.”

Today ESPN and The Athletic have reported that the player is likely to have been BVB’s Gio Reyna. When questioned, however, Berhalter refused to confirm this saying simply: “It doesn’t matter who it was.”

The Stars and Stripes coach however did expand on the issues with the unnamed player: “We had a player who didn’t live up to expectations on and off the field,” Berhalter added, in his speech, which he later explained was not supposed to be made public: “He was one of 26 players, so he stood out. We sat together for hours and thought about what to do with this player. We were ready to book a plane ticket home for him, it was that extreme.”

According to the report, the player was later persuaded to resolve the problem with the team: “We told him you have to apologise to the group, but you also have to say why you are apologising. It has to go deeper than just ‘guys, I’m sorry’.”

In an effort to resolve the matter, the player was asked to apologise to the team, which former Crystal Palace player Berhalter, who has been in post with the USMNT since 2018, confirmed happened and with a positive outcome. According to the national team coach the apology was: ‘very well received by the team.’

The Athletic has since confirmed, citing an ‘anonymous source’ that the unnamed player is Reyna. They also elaborated that the issue arose out of a lack of professionalism on the part of the 20-year-old in USA’s friendly against Qatari club Al-Gharafa and training before the World Cup opener against Wales which ended 1-1.

The Daily Mail confirmed more details; the issues with Reyna are reported to have been so problematic that “it made his teammates turn against him” which resulted in the threat of having to leave the team’s Doha camp at the Qatar tournament. 

The 20-year-old midfielder has had a frustrating season which has been repeatedly set back by injuries in recent months. Reyna has played just 10 games in the Bundesliga this season, scoring two goals.

Things have started to look up for the BVB midfielder since returning to duties this week. Following the elimination of the USMNT by The Netherlands, Reyna scored the winning goal in BVB’s win in the friendly against Rapid Vienna although Die Schwarz-Gelben later crashed to a 0-2 loss against Fiorentina in the ‘Christmas Cup’ – a three-team tournament in Bucharest.

GGFN | Ben McFadyean

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