Scouting time: 4 U21 players to follow in Italian Serie A
L’Ultimo Uomo analyzed for Wyscout Blog the most surprising U21 talents all over the world. The 1st article is dedicated to Italian Serie A.
Pietro Pellegri – 16 years old – Genoa
Pietro Pellegri is 16 years old and has destroyed several age records in Serie A: youngest rookie, third youngest scorer, and youngest brace scorer. The reasons for this are clear: Pellegri has a physical build beyond his years. He is almost 1.90 metres tall, with broad shoulders and a muscle structure that is already developed.
His physical strength has placed athletic defenders the likes of De Vrij and Manolas in difficulty. Pellegri is a strong centre forward in one-on-one challenges, but he is also a sprinter with quick acceleration. He does not have a refined technique, but enough to dialogue well with his teammates and to finish in the goal. In the 3 goals scored in the regular season he showed shooting technique that promises many goals to come. In the second goal against Lazio, he coordinated beautifully on the fly.
In a role that requires increasingly more exceptional abilities these days, Pellegri has the raw talent to model in order to become a solid centre-forward, capable of opening up spaces and throwing entire defences into difficulty with his physical strength and competitiveness. From October he hasn’t collected any real opportunities, but his future seems to be bright.
Rodrigo Bentancur – 20 years old – Juventus
The Juventini who mourned the departure of the “Apache” Tevez who was let go without collecting as much as one cent, finally feel like they’ve been repaid: the initial performance of Rodrigo Bentancur, a player who was optioned in the negotiations which sent the Apache to Boca Juniors, has left everyone in awe.
Bentancur, who just turned 20 years old, is a modern playmaker as much in the fundamentals as in physical play. The Uruguayan midfielder trots ahead of the defence in order to provide a passing line for his teammates. He is confident in his ball management, thanks in part to being ambidextrous. Bentancur is accurate in 9 out of 10 passes during the 366 minutes he has played this season. “Lolo” is thinking about football even when he doesn’t have the ball at his feet. Until now, he has 5.7 interceptions every 90 minutes on the opposing teams’ passing lines.
In the beginning of the season, he has found space as a starter thanks to the ailments of Marchisio, Khedira and Pjanic, but he has skilfully demonstrated his qualities. If he adds just a pinch of courage to his game to move up well on the forwards, Bentancur will soon become indispensable.
Nicolò Barella – 20 years old – Cagliari
Nicolò Barella was born in Cagliari and, if we don’t count the six months he was lent to Como, he has always worn the red and blue shirt. But this fact alone would not have led him to become, at just over 20 years of age, one of the pillars of the Sardinian team and one of the fans’ heroes. For that, he needed a special talent that makes him one of the most exciting Italian Under 21 players around.
Barella is an inside forward with a low centre of gravity and extremely explosive legs that make his progression with the ball difficult for his adversaries to keep in check. In addition to his physical qualities, Barella has an excellent technique with his right foot and an innate understanding of the game that lets him anticipate the opposing team’s play.
Ball recovery is one of his most outstanding qualities and in this area he takes advantage of excellent fundamental sliding tackle technique, which is certainly the flashiest aspect of his game. Barella is still not a “box to box” midfielder, as some have already defined him, but he has such great potential for improvement that it would be reasonable to expect him to become one soon.
Federico Chiesa – 20 years old – Fiorentina
Federico Chiesa is 20 years old and he is already in his second professional season wearing the Fiorentina shirt. His father, Enrico, wore the same shirt for 3 seasons, scoring 45 goals. After the goal against Atalanta (scored in the same goal of the Artemio Franchi, exactly in the same minute that his father had also scored against Atalanta 16 years earlier), even the most sceptical placed Federico Chiesa on their list of the most interesting young players in the league and one to keep an eye on for the National team too.
Chiesa is an extremely dynamic right-footed outside forward: an explosive sprinter and with good stamina, he has the ability to coordinate in a fraction of a second. Even under stress, he can change pace and direction. Even when running at full bore he manages to coordinate to take a shot on goal. Technically speaking, he is not a positional control player. His every action shifts the match to the 1-on-1 level.
Last season he played on the right side, whereas in Stefano Pioli‘s 4-2-3-1, his is playing on the left where he can challenge the opposing defence directly, threatening with his right-footed shots. The consequences are not only the 2 goals in 6 matches that he has already scored (last year he scored 3 in 27 matches), but also greater involvement in Fiorentina’s manoeuvres, which is developing his associative skills. We will have to keep an eye on Federico Chiesa, independently from his father.
Written by: Dario Saltari, Emanuele Atturo, Alfredo Giacobbe, Daniele Manusia.
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