De Zerbi: Mac Allister is a 'special guy'

Head coach looking forward to seeing Albion's former midfielder at Anfield today.

By Bruce Talbot • 31 March 2024

By Paul Hazlewood
Roberto De Zerbi made sure Alexis Mac Allister did a lap of appreciation when he returned to the Amex in October.

Roberto De Zerbi returns to the ground where he managed Albion for the first time today, but whatever the outcome of the game at Anfield he will find time to catch up with Alexis Mac Allister.

The World Cup winner joined Liverpool last summer after 112 appearances, 20 goals and nine assists for the club and De Zerbi remains a big admirer of the Argentinian midfielder's qualities on and off the pitch. 

“Mac Allister is a special guy,” said his former coach. “With me and with my staff he was super correct. Of course he was happy to go to Liverpool and we can understand it, but in the same way he was sad to leave his teammates and this club.”

Referring to Mac Allister’s move, De Zerbi added, “Before we could read it in the press about the possibility he could go to Liverpool, he came into my office to communicate it in front of me and to explain the reason.  

By Paul Hazlewood
An emotional Alexis Mac Allister says goodbye to Albion fans at Villa Park on the final day of last season.

“I understood logically and I appreciated him a lot because he was clear and he was honest. Not all other players are the same.

“I’m speaking about the man. If you want to speak about the player, he is great, but he’s passionate and he suffered to leave.”

Mac Allister was in tears when he saluted Albion fans after last season’s final game against Aston Villa and De Zerbi made sure he did a lap of appreciation when he returned to the Amex in October for the 2-2 draw.

“I wanted to come with him to our fans that day because he deserved to celebrate with them. He was nice with everybody in this club,” added De Zerbi.