The giovanili of the Azzurri

Modern football has become obsessed with youth with each club eager to find and nurture the stars of the next generation. Barcelona is now the model to emulate whilst Ajax have adopted a revolutionary youth model complete with a miCoach Performance centre that can and will analyse every last detail – so where does that leave the Italian youth?
Whilst few doubt just how much money needs to be invested in youth and how seriously Italy’s big clubs are focusing on developing their youth systems to keep up with their European competitors, others argue that it’s simply a case of Italy experiencing a dry patch. Watching the Viareggio tournament, one would have to agree that it appears few youngsters are truly capable of impacting a game in the way Alessandro Del Piero or Paolo Maldini once did thus doing little to encourage clubs to heavily invest.
However, if you were to analyse the potential stars of tomorrow, you will soon come to realise that the midfield is currently enjoying the most amount of success. Starlets such as Carlo Pintus, Francesco Ardizzone and Lorenzo Tassi are all enjoying their moment in the sun but for the moment, we will focus on a certain four that have truly caught our attention.
Starting with one of the purest talents in Italy, Marco Fossati is best known for his performances in the World Under-17 Championship. Possessing excellent vision, many have been quick to label him as the future Andrea Pirlo. However, whilst they both enjoy the same role and the ability to launch offensive moves by delivering well placed and well timed passes, they differ in approach. Fossati is a dynamic player who enjoys covering space and pushing up. His touch is more aggressive, his movements are much quicker but what he also possesses is Pirlo’s intelligence. A somewhat rebel of the young world, he ‘betrayed’ Milan when he left for Inter only to return to Milan after feeling underappreciated.
Fossati’s former colleague at Inter was another starlet, Lorenzo Crisetig who not only captured Jose Mourinho’s attention by receiving a call-up but he has won the heart of Inter’s CEO Ernest Paolillo who is convinced this Esteban Cambiasso-esque player is the next big thing. Renowned for his speed – he can outrun anyone – and his versatility, the player’s comfortable handling of the ball coupled with his strong determination to succeed makes him one to watch. Able to play in front of the defence, on the wing, as a trequartista or in a midfield three, few kids can boast his tactical discipline or his kind of heart that see him eager to rescue a teammate in trouble.
However, Juventus have their own playmaker to compete with the Milanese talent. Sky Italia ran a headline shortly after the Viareggio tournament that read ‘Iniesta or Xavi? In Italy there’s Luca Belcastro’ which is enough to tell how how highly the youngster is rated. A die hard Juventino who counts Del Piero as a fan, Becastro is known for his dribbling, audacious shots from a distance and his penchant for goal-scoring. Deployed more recently further up field and more regularly as a winger, he insists he is just as effective in central midfield. Now co-owned by Carrarese who boast Ginaluigi Buffon as a shareholder, the player’s impeccable vision and technical ability make him Buffon’s choice for the future.
Though no list is complete without mentioning Federico Carraro, a unique player capable of changing the outcome of the game. This creative midfielder who possesses the characteristics of a classic number 10 is perhaps Italy’s number one talent. A mesmeric dribber, the starlet has been blessed with accuracy, speed and technical ability but it’s the cynicism within his game that makes the elegant player all the more exciting. Usually targeted by opponents, his change of pace and tactical discipline have captivated his followers and led Modena to snap up the chance to take the player on loan from Fiorentina.
Whilst there may be no Ganso amongst them, these players represent a lifeline to those who wish to believe in the future of calcio and Italian players.

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