Connect with us

Scout Report

Scout Report: Riccardo Orsolini | Atalanta’s deft winger

Charles Onwuakpa writes about 2017 U-20 World Cup Italian star and Atalanta talent, Riccardo Orsolini


The ultra-attacking nature in the early days of the beautiful game (with formations like the 1-2-7 and the WM) saw a great reliance upon wide players. The old-fashioned winger had to be technically adept in order to beat their marker and whip in early yet accurate crosses for the forwards in the penalty box: this was the case of Sir Stanley Matthews, who inspired Blackpool’s 1953 epic FA Cup final comeback in what was considered the first major TV audience for a sporting event. Crossing and mainly dribbling were the key attributes of orthodox wide players like Mané Garrincha, one of football’s greatest players.

Unfortunately, the traditional winger met his doom with the introduction of a back four: Gustáv Sebes’ experimental version with Hungary against England in 1953 deprived the #7 and #11 of that attacking power they had against fellow WM systems, forcing them much later on to drop deeper in search of space and act as extra midfielders who still kept their main functions, as well as more taking up more defensive duties: a perfect example is Ryan Giggs, one of the Premier League’s iconic players.

The advent of the 4-2-3-1 in the 2000s-2010s lead to the introduction of the “inverted winger”, with players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Arjen Robben running the show: he is essentially a wide attacking midfielder who has to cut inside and shoot or play a through ball behind the defensive line. This new role has once more contributed to the decline of the old-fashioned winger, but there are some players who mastered both styles of play: this is the case of Riccardo Orsolini.

Who is Riccardo Orsolini?

Riccardo Orsolini was born in Ascoli Piceno on the 24th of January 1997. A product of Ascoli’s youth academy, he joined the first team in the 2015-16 season after his hometown club were promoted to Serie B, earning nine appearances in total. His performances last season (eight goals in forty-one appearances) helped Ascoli to avoid relegation and caught the attention of Juventus, who signed him on a four-year deal in January 2017. He also made his international debut with the Italian U-20 national team last season and lead the Azzurrini to third place during the summers’ FIFA U-20 World Cup, scoring five goals in seven games.

Talent Radar Accolades

What is his Style of Play?

The Italian is essentially a wide player: he can either play as an out-and-out winger in a 4-3-3 or as an inverted winger (his preferred role) in a 4-2-3-1 formation. He is 183 cm (6 ft) tall and weighs 73 kg (161 lbs). Physically strong and blessed with incredible pace and acceleration, he likes to hug the touchline, using his dribbling abilities to beat his marker and cross from the byline, otherwise he tries to cut inside and shoot. Despite being left-footed, he doesn’t mind using his weaker foot especially when playing on the right flank. He is also good in attacking duels and makes intelligent off-the-ball movements when in the penalty box.

What are his Strengths?

Technique: Orsolini has an excellent first touch and ball control. He makes short, quick touches which allow him to keep the ball near his feet and elude opponents in tight spaces, but he can also run with it and be a true nightmare for defenders on fast breaks and counterattacks.

Dribbling: This is probably his best attribute. Orsolini’s skill-set is quite good and he uses different tricks to beat his marker: body feints, ruletas, Cruyff turns, step overs, name it. Last season he attempted 7.6 take-ons per 90 with a 77% success rate which is very impressive;

Aerial Duels: As stated earlier, Orsolini is a physical winger, therefore can be used as a wide target man and is very efficient at it. Ascoli’s direct style of play means that they often play long balls to easily access the final third: it is no surprise then that the Italian youngster was involved in 3.4 aerial duels per 90, with a 58% success rate;

Attacking Runs and Finishing: The youngster has the willingness and energy to burst into the penalty box. He makes quick, smart attacking runs past his marker (normally the full back) and behind the defensive line. His calm and composure in front of goal make him a clinical finisher in one-on-one situations.

Shooting: Orsolini is a sharp shooter and doesn’t mind an effort towards goal. Last season he managed 1.8 shots per 90, mainly aiming at medium-low corners. His shooting technique is more focused on power rather than precision.

End Product: Unlike most wide players, Orsolini has the end product needed to top up his dribbling game. His tally at youth level is very impressive and the same can be said about his contribution last season to help Ascoli escape relegation: eight goals and six assists in his first full season as a professional footballer is a good return for a player of his caliber. At the recent U-20 World Cup he was awarded the Golden Boot as his excellent form in front of goal helped  Italy to reach a personal best third place.

What are his Weaknesses?

Passing: Orsolini managed only 13.5 passes per 90 with a mediocre pass accuracy of 75%. In his defence though we have to consider the fact that Ascoli weren’t a possession based team but more of a fast-paced, counterattacking team, so Orsolini saw little of the ball.

Creativity: He managed only nine key passes last season and, despite setting up six goals, his style of play still remains quite egoistical and instinctive, as his dribbling addiction sometimes has the better of him and makes it easier for opponents to dispossess him.

Crossing: Orsolini averaged 2.4 crosses per 90 but had a very poor crossing accuracy. Most of them came from his weaker foot and were early, predictable balls which were easily blocked by the opponents’ defense. If he is able to slow down his game and pick out the right situations to cross, he will become a world-class winger.

Inefficiency and Defensive Duels: The young Italian needs to reduce the number of shots from outside the box which are highly inefficient, as well as work on his defensive contribution: despite being a player of great intensity  he still lacks in concentration and discipline when defending.

Conclusion

A couple of weeks ago Juventus sent Orsolini to Atalanta for a two-year loan: this choice was indeed the best for him. Just like the cases of Mattia Caldara and Leonardo Spinazzola, Atalanta can grant him enough game time in Serie A and the Europa League to showcase his qualities as well as develop himself under a defensive aspect. With a brilliant coach like Gianpiero Gasperini, the 20-year-old should  be able to improve in his finishing, decision-making, and pressing. Hopefully, he will play a pivotal role in Juventus’ future team which could boast other young, hot prospects like Pol Lirola, Rodrigo Bentancur, Rolando Mandragora and Moise Kean.

Charles Onwuakpa
Follow me on

Charles Onwuakpa

Student | Football Writer | Podcaster & Blogger at Gioco di Spazi
Charles Onwuakpa was born in Lagos, Nigeria (1999) but lives in Italy: student, football writer, owner of "Gioco di Spazi" blog and co-founder of "Il Terzo Uomo" podcast.
Charles Onwuakpa
Follow me on

100 to Watch

Latest

Indian Football2 months ago

Indian Super League 2017-18: U-23 Young Indian Players’ Team of the Season

At the end of the 2017-18 Indian Super League season, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot...

Indian Football2 months ago

Scout Report: Jerry Lalrinzuala | India’s Promising Young Defender

Hrishi Anand provides a scout report which analyses India and Chennaiyin’s promising young defender, Jerry Lalrinzuala Indian football has taken...

Scout Report2 months ago

Scout Report: Houssem Aouar | Lyon’s young midfield star

Kwame Atteen writes a detailed scout report about Houssem Aouar, the Lyon and France midfielder. While we are all so...

Talent Radar3 months ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #16: Youri Tielemans and Patrick Cutrone feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Talent Radar4 months ago

Brasileirão U-23 Young Players’ Team of the Season 2017: Talent Radar

As the 2017 Brasileirao season has finished, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot to recognize the...

Talent Radar4 months ago

2017 Meiji Yasuda J1 League: Top 5 U-22 Players of the Season

Steven Davies sits down and takes a look at, who in his opinion, have been the best of a bright...

Opinions4 months ago

The Resurrection of Nicklas Bendtner

Harry Burford writes about the resurrection of Nicklas Bendtner. Whilst Denmark’s Nicklas Bendtner has all but disappeared from our collective footballing...

Bengaluru FC4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 0-2 Bengaluru

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 0-2 Bengaluru Bengaluru FC scored...

Indian Football4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-2 Chennaiyin

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-2 Chennaiyin Chennaiyin FC came...

Talent Radar4 months ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #15: Franck Kessie and Leon Bailey feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Indian Football4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Pune City 3-0 ATK

Naven Venkat discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Pune City 3-0 ATK Playing the...

Indian Football4 months ago

Mohun Bagan Vs East Bengal: The Enduring Allure Of The Kolkata Derby

Arinjay Ghosh looks at the significance of the Kolkata Derby and why in the ever-changing landscape of Indian football, Mohun...

Indian Football4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Mumbai City 0-1 Kerala Blasters

Vatsal Dani discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Mumbai City 0-1 Kerala Blasters Iain...

Bengaluru FC4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Delhi Dynamos 2-2 Bengaluru

Aakriti Mehrotra discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Delhi Dynamos 2-0 Bengaluru When Delhi...

Bengaluru FC5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Bengaluru 1-0 ATK

Arnab Ray discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Bengaluru 1-0 ATK With the Indian...

Indian Football5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Chennaiyin 2-2 Delhi Dynamos

Hrishi Anand discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Chennaiyin 2-2 Delhi Dynamos Chennaiyin FC...

Indian Football5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-1 FC Goa

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-1 FC Goa FC Goa...

Indian Football5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Pune City 5-0 NorthEast United

Naven Venkat discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Pune City 5-0 NorthEast United This...

Tactical Analysis5 months ago

Tactical Analysis: Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona | Los Blancos Implode in the 2nd Half

Om Arvind provides a tactical analysis of the La Liga game that finished Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona Barcelona were 11...

Indian Football5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-0 Delhi Dynamos

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-0 Delhi Dynamos ATK rode...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 17-18

More on Outside of the Boot

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this