When Cesare Prandelli announced his most recent Italy squad, there were a few surprise names on the list. None stood out more, though, than the Cesena midfield player Marco Parolo. Clearly Prandelli is staying true to his word and experimenting with new players in the hopes of finding a diamond or two in the rough, but why Parolo?
Before this season, Parolo had never played in Serie A. His career had seen him turn out for Como, Pistoiese, Foligno and Hellas before he joined Cesena on loan in 2009. Since joining, however, he has been constantly improving along with the team and has become a central figure first in their unexpected promotion from Serie B and now in their fight to remain in Serie A.
His performances in the centre of Cesena’s three-man midfield have caught the eye and he provides his team with great drive and enthusiasm. His job is to maintain possession and start his side’s attacks before quickly getting up in support of the front three. Perhaps his best display of the season came two weeks ago when he led his side’s fight back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Juventus. His clever movement and aggressive running proved too much for Juve and he won the penalty Luis Jimenez converted before drawing his side level late on with an excellent finish.
Despite his excellent form, a call up to the Nazionale was still something of a surprise. He has certainly benefited from the injury to Andrea Pirlo and the omission of Daniele De Rossi on disciplinary grounds. However, he certainly deserves a chance and will benefit a great deal from the time he spends as part of Prandelli’s squad. While he may not get much game time, anything will be seen as a bonus by a man who has only played 28 Serie A games in his entire career.
Parolo does offer an interesting option for Cesare Prandelli in midfield. Cesena tend to play a similar formation to the one preferred by Prandelli – both deploy three central midfield players supporting a three man strike force. Parolo’s dynamism and ability to run with the ball are qualities somewhat rare in the current Italy midfield. Only Claudio Marchisio can be classed as in any way similar to Parolo and so a future with the national team could beckon for the Cesena man.
Between them, the Italian midfield boasts only two international goals, both scored by Alberto Aquilani. Parolo’s tendency to appear in good positions in and around the box and his ability to finish could also distinguish him as a player of interest for Prandelli. He is currently joint third in Cesena’s goal scoring charts with four, which is an impressive tally for a midfield player in a struggling side.
While Parolo will not be expecting much game time in the upcoming internationals, he will be hoping to impress Prandelli sufficiently for the Coach to recall him in future. Should he do so, he could very well become a useful option for the Azzurri for the next few years.