As the end of the season beckons across Europe, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot to recognize the accomplishments of tomorrow’s stars under our Talent Radar banner, with the U-22 Team of the Season across each individual top leagues being featured for the fourth consecutive year. This feature looks at the best of the Serie A.
[Eligibility: As of 1st June 2016 – 21 years old and below for outfield players // 22 years old and below for goalkeepers]
Gianluigi Donnarumma // 18 // AC Milan // Goalkeeper: The sensation from Milan has succeeded in the follow up season to his debut. After breaking into in 2015-16, he managed to cement his place there this season, and earn his spot as the best young goalkeeper in the world. The young keeper made his debut for the national team as well under the watchful eye of the legendary Gigi Buffon. Donnarumma has shown that he can make the stunning saves, and rarely makes mistakes too.
Milan Skriniar // 22 // Sampdoria // Centre Back: Mid table isn’t necessarily a bad finish for Sampdoria, and they will be looking to kick on next season under the stewardship of Marco Giampaolo. The Genoese club have quite a talent on their hands in Milan Skriniar. He’s proving to be an important ball playing defender, also helping out in midfield as per his team’s needs. The Slovakian defender featured at the Euros as well this summer, and could be an important player in Serie A next season.
Alessio Romagnoli // 22 // AC Milan // Centre Back: Along with Donnarumma in goal, Romagnoli in defence has also been a great addition for Milan. The defender has really improved in stature this season, leading Milan’s charge for European football. Though the Rossoneri have failed in that particular quest, there is enough encouragement to be had from their season under Montella to leave them optimistic for next time.
Samir // 22 // Udinese // Centre Back: Another player who has made quite an impact in the Serie A this season is Samir from Udinese. The young Brazilian centre back has made a good impression with his smart positional play and intelligent tackling.
Federico Chiesa // 19 // Fiorentina // Right Midfielder: Playing with three at the back and wing backs has become very fashionable this season with the likes of Chelsea and Hoffenheim using the tactic to great effect. Fiorentina also play this way, and Chiesa has been their successful right sided player. His energy and skill have been important for Paulo Sousa’s line up, and the 19 year old will only get better from here on in.
Lorenzo Pellegrini // 20 // Sassuolo // Central Midfielder: Pellegrini has been one of the best midfielders in Serie A this season. The Italian is a crafty and creative young player, proving to be a very effective playmaker for Sassuolo. Aside from his incisive passing, he’s also shown that he has a very effective long range shot.
Franck Kessie // 20 // Atalanta // Central Midfielder: Another player who has been among the better youngsters in Europe this season is Franck Kessie who has been at the forefront of the revolution led by Gian Piero Gasperini at Atalanta. Kessie has proven to be very effective as an all action midfielder. His energy and ability off the ball have seen the player emerge as a real destructive force at the heart of the Atalanta midfield.
Leandro Paredes // 22 // Roma // Central Midfielder: Paredes has been a very capable deputy for players like De Rossi, Nainggolan, and Strootman in the middle of the park. The 22 year old Argentine has shown that he thrives on his strong positioning and tough tackling in the middle of the park. While he is primarily a defensive midfielder, he’s also shown he can pass the ball well enough, and will be a fine addition to Roma’s midfield, with the likes of De Rossi now getting on in years.
Balde Keita // 22 // Lazio // Left Midfielder: Keita has mostly served as a left sided attacker this season to utilize his pace and energy. While he did a fantastic job there, getting into double figures for goals scored, his form has turned on its head in the last few weeks. He’s been moved towards the centre, and that has worked a charm as he cant seem to stop scoring, and consequently, Lazio too, cant seem to stop scoring.
Giovanni Simeone // 21 // Genoa // Striker: Genoa have had a tough second half of this season after a fast start. They began well, and were the first side to beat Juventus this season. The most important man in this run of results was Giovani Simeone. The young forward scored a number of goals in that phase, and his general energy and tenacity were much appreciated by the people of Genoa. He’s had a tough second half of the season, but he is a talented forward, and he has shown enough this season to convince us that he is the real deal.
Andrea Petagna // 21 // Atalanta // Striker: Another by-product of the Atalanta success story is Andrea Petagna. It has been a good season for strikers like him in Serie A this year, with Belotti and Dzeko also gaining prominence. The tough as nails striker has served as the focal point for Gasperini’s 3-4-3 formation and playing style. Much to his credit, Petagna has taken on the responsibility with aplomb. He’s scored just 5 goals, but has 7 assists, highlighting his role.