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

Charles Onwuakpa

Born in Lagos, Nigeria (1999) but living in Italy, student and aspirant coach. Football writer for AterAlbus.it, Ultimo Uomo, Outside of the Boot. Owner and author of "Gioco di Spazi" football blog. Left-footed Raumdeuter.
Charles Onwuakpa

100 to Watch

Latest

Extra14 hours ago

Interview: Brandon Fernandes on experiencing football outside India, a longer ISL, and FC Goa’s upcoming campaign

Outside of the Boot gets the chance to sit down with FC Goa’s talented midfielder, Brandon Fernandes There’s been a lot...

Scout Report22 hours ago

Scout Report: Steven Bergwijn | PSV Eindhoven’s rising star

Wang Yulin takes a look at PSV’s exciting Dutch attacker Steven Bergwijn When you think of the team ‘PSV Eindhoven’,...

Opinions1 day ago

Hanoi FC: The Vietnamese Champions struggling to connect with the locals

Trong Nhan Doan looks at the peculiar case of Hanoi FC Most of the time, the most successful team is...

Opinions1 day ago

Expected Goals: A Pioneering Method of Analysing Football

The Football Code has a look at expected goals, a new metric set to revolutionize statistics-based analysis of football Football...

Tactical Analysis4 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Atletico Madrid | Clash of two organised sides

Ryan Tank analyses the mid-week La Liga clash that ended Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Atletico Madrid The clash of two organized...

Tactical Analysis4 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Schalke 0-3 Bayern Munich | Ancelotti’s men secure hard fought win

Ryan Tank analyses the mid-week Bundesliga match that ended Schalke 0-3 Bayern Munich. Schalke: Fahrmann, Kehrer, Naldo, Nastasic, Caliguri, McKennie...

Talent Radar5 days ago

2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 5 Young Keepers – Edition 1

Our Talent Radar Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe, with those featuring in...

Opinions6 days ago

Déjà vu on Tyneside: Why Newcastle are being left short-changed by familiar failings

Jeffrey Gamby-Boulger looks critically at Newcastle’s repeated failings in recent years and why Mike Ashley is the root of those problems. ‘It’s the same...

Hipster Guide6 days ago

Hipster Guide 2017-18: UEFA Europa League | Part Two

Oliver McManus takes us on a journey through some of the more obscure parts of Europe as he tells us...

Series7 days ago

Tactical Philosophy: Leonardo Jardim

While this website has made its name focusing on the lesser known youth of this beautiful sport, and combined it...

Talent Radar1 week ago

Talent Radar 2017-18 Young Players’ Team of the Week #4: Pietro Pellegri and Joshua Kimmich feature

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

Tactical Analysis1 week ago

Tactical Analysis: Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Swansea City | Tottenham’s half space focus against Swansea’s compact block

Ryan Tank provides a tactical analysis of the Premier League game that finished Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Swansea City  Tottenham attacked...

Scout Report1 week ago

Scout Report: Maxwel Cornet | Lyon’s latest starlet

Josh Sippie breaks down Maxwel Cornet, Lyon’s dynamic attacker. Olympique Lyon just have a knack for plucking supremely talented youth...

Scout Report1 week ago

Scout Report: Marcos Llorente | Real Madrid’s young midfielder

Karan Tejwani provides the lowdown on Real Madrid’s talented midfielder, Marcos Llorente. Real Madrid have made smart purchases from Spanish...

Scout Report1 week ago

Scout Report: Eddie Nketiah | Arsenal’s academy talent

Josh Sippie takes a look at highly-rated Arsenal academy striker Eddie Nketiah. Arsenal’s youth ranks are always going to be...

Scout Report1 week ago

Scout Report: Douglas Luiz | Girona’s skilful midfielder

Anderson Moura analyses Girona’s (via Manchester City) talented Brazilian, Douglas Luiz. When Pep Guardiola accepted the Manchester City job, he...

Tactical Analysis1 week ago

Tactical Analysis: RB Leipzig 1-1 AS Monaco | Dynamism and the 4-4-2

Kaushik Goswami tactically analyses the 1-1 draw between RB Leipzig and AS Monaco in the Champions League With most of...

Tactical Analysis2 weeks ago

Tactical Analysis: Nice 4-0 Monaco | Favre’s efficient approach

Ross Eaton has a look at the Ligue 1 clash between defending champions Monaco and fellow title challengers, Nice. After...

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Bartlomiej Dragowski | Fiorentina’s talented Pole

Josh Sippie breaks down Fiorentina’s talented Pole, Bartlomiej Dragowski. It’s funny how different nations are renowned for their ability to...

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Mikel Merino | Newcastle’s dynamic Spaniard

Josh Sippie lays down the law on Newcastle’s metronomic Spaniard, Mikel Merino. Borussia Dortmund are another one of those teams...

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