Matthijs de Ligt was surprised at being placed on the bench by head coach, Maurizio Sarri, during Bianconeri’s first Serie A game of the season.
The former Ajax man was an unused substitute as the defending champions got off to a winning start with a 1-0 victory away from home against Parma.
Giorgio Chiellini, one of the men Sarri preferred in the back line, scored the winning goal as the Netherlands defender watched on from the bench.
But after the game, the 19-year-old who captained Ajax to a league and cup double last season, revealed that he wasn't expecting to be substitute, even though he knows that displacing either of the centre-back veterans will not be easy.
"Of course, I would have preferred to play,” he said after the game.
“I couldn’t read this based on the training sessions, in that sense I didn’t see this coming, but obviously I respect the decision of the coach.
“I’m also realistic, I’m still getting used to being here in Italy. The duo that played today, Chiellini and [Leonardo] Bonucci, were seen as the best defensive pairing in the world.
“It’s not like you’re just going to play instead of them in the opening match. I’ll have to conquer them to earn my place in the team this season.”
De Ligt was brought in from Ajax for £78 million ($84m) alongside a few other new signings but Mauricio Sarri opted not to select any of them in the starting XI.